I laughed in agreement when I read this quote from Pearl Bailey, the colorful African American singer from the past. One of my favorite forms of relaxation is to walk leisurely through antique stores and thrift shops. God always finds me there whether in the form of statues, medals, rosaries, artwork, and of course, the people I meet. Somehow, without warning, the divine encounter happens.
Recently, I was completely enraptured by this huge statue of the black madonna and child at the Antique Barn in San Juan Capistrano. She took my breath away not only because I have been researching the whole phenomona of the black madonna but also because of the strong expression on her face. As shivers went up my arms on that warm spring afternoon, a profound sense of presence kept me rooted to the spot, gazing with complete fascination. I wondered what was God trying to say to me through her. I had the fleeting sense that I was supposed to buy the statue, rescue her from the store, use her in my ministry. But she had a pricetag on her crown of $900. Although I’m sure she was worth it, there was just no way. Reluctantly, I had to leave her behind for some other fortunate person’s collection.
Long after I left the store that day, I thought and prayed about why this image remains so powerful for me. The answer is really quite simple. God is always trying to find us, reaching out in whatever is significant and meaningful in the present moment. What captures your attention? Sports? Cooking? Walking your dog? Music? Shopping? Disneyland? Whatever it is, I can guarantee you that God is there in the midst of it all. We just have to get better at recognition.