Fingerprints of God
“There is one God and Creator of all, who is over all, who works through all, and is within all.” – Ephesians 4:6
Life has been very messy lately. A tragic death, rampant illness, and tensions at work made every day a circus of struggle. I prayed fervently for God to make things a little easier. Come, Lord Jesus: resurrect the dead, heal the sick, and make the church on earth as it is in heaven!
God, apparently having better things to do, did not answer these prayers immediately. Taking matters into my own hands, I juggled harder, danced faster, and tried to square the messy unfinished circle of life by taking my neat freak to new levels at home, the only space it seemed I could control.
Then Lent arrived, with its hard but rewarding spiritual disciplines. My 11-year-old daughter and I committed to meditate together daily. Every morning, as I write this, we pull kitchen chairs out from the table, point them toward the east-facing windows in our home, and sit side by side to watch the sun rise while we meditate for three minutes. Meditation helps her with the anxiety that feels like a ubiquitous feature of life for young people of this generation, and helps me push back against the false inner voice that insists I must stay in constant motion to prevent the world from falling further apart.
Together, we inhale through our noses, and imagine God saying “I love you.” On the exhale, we reply back, silently, “I love you, God.”
It sounds lovely. But of course my monkey mind goes crazy the second I sit down. I mentally order the day, write emails in my head, stave off the deeper feelings of despair with my calm efficiency. Staring out the window, rather than wonder that the sun is coming up for the gajillionth time in bold defiance against the grief, trauma and entropy of modern life, all I can do is notice the fingerprints on the glass I have not cleaned since my two-year-old nephew visited last month. I make a mental note to wash the window as soon as we’re done.
My mini-me daughter notices them too. When our meditation ends, she says, “Do you see those fingerprints on the window? It’s like they’re saying: God is in the sun, and God is in the fingerprints. Because they belong to someone we love, who God made.”
God, You have left messy fingerprints all over this world. You are in the sun shining, and the smears on the glass. Whatever we are going through, fire, earthquake, flood of emotion: may we see You in both sun, shadow, and smear. Amen.
Molly Baskette is Senior Minister of the First Church of Berkeley, California, and the author of the best-selling Real Good Church and Standing Naked Before God.