Kaylie and I hopped onto the Blue Line train and quickly sat down across from the door. Immediately I nudged Kaylie and nodded to the man on the other side of her. He had a long red beard and multiple colored bandanas wrapped around his neck. He wore a renaissance-style vest beneath a brightly colored 80’s wind breaker, and a straw hat rested gently on his head. He had bags with him like he was going somewhere.
He seemed to be going in and out of consciousness. Or a trance.
When he noticed us looking at him, he granted us a big grin and nodded back at us. We began talking, and he told us he was in a psychedelic folk band called Bowl of Dust, and that he was heading toward Kansas City. He told us his name was Dandelion, but he sometimes goes by Kyle.
Throughout our conversation, whenever a lull in conversation arose, Kyle would return to his meditative trance. A large smile would consume his face, his left hand would be elevated openly as if gently asking for nickels, and his eyes would close.
I thought about what a beautiful image this was to us believers. I don’t know exactly what Dandelion was doing, but he inspired me to worship more. He seemed to be aware of the constant presence of…something…and it was awesome. Whenever we spoke to him, he would graciously open his eyes, smile at us again, and continue the conversation. It was as if he were recharging, or re-finding his center whenever given the chance, and those brief moments filled him with more joy, peace, and rest.
I asked myself why I am not more like Dandelion. How come I am not constantly seeking to be in God’s presence? How much more joy and peace could we bring to our days, and to those around us if we were ever aware of our Lord’s perpetual presence! Brother Lawrence wrote a book years and years ago entitled The Practice of the Presence of God. Go read it.
Looking back, I realize how ironic this next question was. I asked him, since he’s going to Kansas City, if he has ever heard of IHOP. He said yes, and asked if that was the place that’s always got music going on. I said yah. He told us he would love to play in that, but he doesn’t totally agree with their theology. He subscribed to “a more feminine and caring aspect of the divine.”
IHOP, for those of you who do not know, has a place called the Prayer Room, which is modeled after King David’s tabernacle (1 Chronicles 23-25). King David hired thousands of people to work in the tabernacle, and their only job was to worship and sing to God twenty-four hours a day. The International House Of Prayer, located in Kansas City, does the same thing. They constantly worship through singing and music, without ever ever ceasing. If you don’t believe me, click here to watch the live stream.
As we walked out of the train and toward the stairs, I exclaimed my desire to be like Dandelion Kyle to Kaylie. I told her that we should be constantly retreating to the awesome presence of God, and carrying it with us everywhere. How many times in scripture are we told to pray without ceasing? Or to meditate on the Law day and night? And yet so often, we are put to shame by the friendly tantric feminine diviner. Whatever spirit he is carrying with him is obviously no match for Yahweh, our God, but are we constantly aware of His presence in our lives? I know I am not.
Spending time in His presence, whether we are in silence at home, or working, or on the train, or eating brunch, is crucial. It brings joy. It removes burdens and breaks chains. It is one of the most overlooked aspects of American Christianity, in my opinion.
My friend Andrew has been telling me lately about his hatred of the dichotomy between “sacred time” and “other time.” He said that, as Christians, we should never use a phrase like, “Ok, I’m done eating. Let’s go worship.” Andrew gets heated as he exclaims that eating IS worship! And every single thing we do can be worship. But as Americans, we have often stripped the term ‘worship’ down to meaning ‘those three songs we sing before the pastor gives his message.’ It is so much more. It is constant. It is marveling at the greatness of God in every single aspect of our lives, down to the smallest quark. We should enjoy God while we enjoy a great burger, or a swim in the lake, or a great song.
Let’s be more like Dandelion, and constantly tune in to the presence of the Lord, every chance we get.
Let’s live as if God really were omnipresent.