Nothing Like a Snipe Hunt

Photo by  Annie Spratt  on  Unsplash

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Encountering God

by Eric Elkin

Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?
— Psalm 24:3

There are certain camp rituals which escape any sense of reason in my mind. These rituals tend to play on the fear and innocence of a child. One of those rituals is the snipe hunt. Adults love taking children out in the woods at night to hunt the elusive snipe.

The hunt requires a bag and a stick. The leader often teaches the children how to make snipe calls. Since there is no such thing as a snipe, the activity is one of futility and humor. Of course, the joke is at the expense of a child who trusts the adult to tell the truth. The weird part is those most fooled by a snipe hunt are the ones most intent on passing the tradition on.

Sometimes I feel like the search for God is like a snipe hunt. We give people a cross and a Bible and tell them to go look. When they don’t find God in one place, we point them in another direction. The one difference being, something deep within our souls yearns for the presence of God. It is a desire too genetically woven into our DNA to suggest religion is some master hoax passed on through generations.

Where do you go to find God? Some people discover the presence of God in nature. I am one of them. A beautiful sunset, a majestic mountain, a pattern of clouds and the interconnectedness of living creatures captures the soul. It is an experience so powerful it remains with you long after it has concluded.

I used to encounter the presence of God on the rooftop of a church in Brooklyn. “Ascending the hill of the Lord” in search of solitude, I ended up watching the people below. In this densely populated neighborhood, masses of people walked by on their way to the subway. People of different nationalities, religions, and professions were on display in front of me. It amazed me how this complex network of people could live so well together. My soul was renewed by the sense of the community and the visible signs of grace.

When I think about it, searching for the presence of God is nothing like a snipe hunt. Matter of fact, the ability of God to meet us in so many different places is quite remarkable. However, there is something more profound when the search is an intentional move on our part. Moving into a sacred place opens the eyes of the heart to see more clearly what is holy in all the earth.

Click to read: Psalm 24

Reflection Questions:

  • Where do you go to encounter God’s presence?
  • And what do we take away from the encounter?
  • When has God been absent from your sight?
  • How is a sanctuary a sacred place to encounter God?

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