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May 2020

Where do we find God (and ourselves)?

Writing at a time when our churches are closed for public worship some may find the question a challenge. Indeed our churches are sources of beauty, peace and inspiration to many and the commonplace term ‘House of God’ adds to expectation. 

The word Church is often associated with a building but perhaps the Greek word used in the New Testament is more helpful in that it means ‘a gathering’ but this does not mean that we cannot find God when we are alone and in some cases we are able to use the benefits of technology to ‘gather’ in new ways. The young Jesus would have been familiar with the noise of the carpenter’s workshop, the bustle of daily village life and no doubt found opportunities to enjoy His heavenly Father’s presence in those circumstances but also in the times when He found a quiet place to be alone without other distractions. 

In isolation we need to find God’s presence in new and perhaps surprising places and reflect on Jesus’ promise to His disciples to be with them always.

Isolation also challenges us as to how we value ourselves: it is often by the work we do and the wealth it produces but in the current crisis those working in caring for others have found a new or increased and well deserved value in the eyes of many.  If we are unable to work or contribute our sense of value may be diminished but it is important to remember that our faithful heavenly Father values each one of us not by what we do but as by what we are, a precious child of God, whether we recognise this or not, and the events remembered in Holy Week and Easter remind us of the costly love God released to show us how much we mean to Him and, through the resurrection, the new creation we can become, confident of the value we have in God’s sight irrespective of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

In conclusion I offer the following reading, Footprints, which you may find helpful in times of uncertainty;

One night I dreamed a dream.  As I was walking along the beach with my Lord, across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.  For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand, one belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me, I looked back at the footprints in the sand and I noticed that at many times along the path of my life, especially at the very lowest and saddest times, there was only one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you, You’d walk with me all the way. But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life there was only one set of footprints. I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most why You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you. Never, ever. During your trials and testings, when you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.”

Charles Hill, Reader

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