Where is God in times like these?
“…And see I am with you always until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 20)
Where is God in our lives? How do we know that God is there and that God is with us? Where might we find God in the midst of such things as a pandemic, where life is not going the way we thought it would and blessings might seems to be thin on the ground? Jesus, at his birth, was named ‘Immanuel’ which means God with us. Jesus promised to be with us until the end of the age, and we often affirm that he is with us when two or three are gathered in his name. Furthermore, we believe that we experience God as the Holy Spirit, who is amongst us because, again, Jesus promised that he would send the disciples the Spirit. This is all nice theology which we strongly believe, but what does it mean.
As an educator I am prompted in the face of such questions to use a thinking routine such as ‘See, Think Wonder’ which a thinking routine from Project Zero, of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. To use this thinking routine one simply needs to complete the sentence stems: ‘I see…’; ‘I think…’; ‘I wonder… .’ Given that Jesus at the end of the Great Commission in Matthew tells us to “see/look/behold,” it seems to fit our need.
We see Jesus through love. Knowing God is with us has less to do with our feelings and more to do with our actions. It is less to do with our feeling that God loves us or is with us, but by our loving others as we have been loved by God, after all “God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God lives in them.” (1 John 4: 16) Furthermore, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (1 John 4: 12) Similarly, in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats Jesus suggests that when we love our neighbour by feeding, clothing, visiting or caring for them then we are doing that for/to him. So, I see people laying down their lives for others in the name of Christ and caring for others in important small and large ways, so God is with us.
We can think about our gifts and how God is calling us to use them, as there is no gift without its corresponding ministry or service (Basis of Union, Par 13). So when we think about our gifts, and seek to discern God’s call, then clearly God is with us. When we use them in loving service of others, then God is with us. So, I wonder in the light of this, where do you see God at work in your life and the community around you and the world? Look, behold, see and know that Christ is with us even until the end of this age. It is something to think and wonder about. God bless.
Rev. Jon Humphries is the Chaplain at Ravenswood School for Girls