Across continents, my sister and I spoke of coram Deo. To live coram Deo is to live one’s entire life before the face of God, to be aware that everything we are doing is within his gaze. Coram Deo captures the very essence of what it means to be Christian.
This beautiful song by Matt Maher speaks of coram Deo. (You will be blessed listening to it.)
“Lord, I need you, O, I need you.
Every hour I need you.
My one defense, my righteousness,
O God, how I need you….
… where you are, Lord I am free,
Holiness is Christ in me.”
As I practice living coram Deo, I find a peace in following the will of Christ instead of anxiety in seeking the will of people. In his company I hear the important voices instead of the loud ones. Practicing the presence of God encourages me to relentlessly remove hurry from my life. Living under his gaze, I walk away from the tyranny of many meetings. Instead, I seek out solitude and there I am never alone. His presence soaks into every crevice and the beautiful friendships God has gifted to me are healthier for it. Living coram Deo I find that I need people less but I love them more.
Living before the face of God brings consistency to my life. My heart is the same when washing dishes as it is when I am in church. I speak of people the same as I speak to them and in this, I seek God’s words. When I am aware that God’s face is turned toward me, I hear the symphony above the noise, I see the beggar and the businessman in the same light, I touch the gnarled stranger with the same gentleness I offer my little grandchild. Under his gaze, God’s love through me is stable.
Living coram Deo has not perfected me – far from it. However, God’s ever-present presence is in the process of perfecting me, and daily I sing and pray and call out, “Lord, I need you, O, I need you. Every hour I need you.”
Aaron’s blessing is one of the most profound prayers, spoken originally from God’s own mouth, gifted by him to be spoken over his people. It is the way of life God wants for us. Today, I pray this for you and for me.
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
– Numbers 6: 24-26