THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

In every life the question of God’s presence is raised at some point. For many it is an academic issue related to the existence of evil in the world. But for most, it relates to our own personal struggles and pain, and our need to connect with something bigger than ourselves. Unfortunately, we may fall into thinking that God’s presence is available only to a select, chosen few. Sometimes we may imply that God cannot be found except within the walls of our church buildings. We may even fall into the Old Testament view that those who suffer do so because of God’s judgement, and those who have much are “blessed” by God’s presence and provision. The result of this is that we have made God into a fickle, partisan deity who favours some over others, and who cannot be turned to for refuge in our darkest times. What a pity this is – and what a travesty of the Gospel.

The Scriptures make it clear that God’s presence is everywhere, and that God draws close to all who need refuge and protection and comfort. Every human being “lives and moves and has their being” in God’s presence. We need only to recognise this. God’s gift of the Spirit is not some kind of spiritual “merit badge” for a chosen few. Rather it is available to all and offers comfort and strength for all. Our calling, as followers of Jesus, is to learn to see that God is at work and present in the most unexpected and surprising places, and then to help others to see it for themselves, and enjoy the healing and empowering that this spiritual sight brings.

This week we will explore the surprising ways in which God’s presence comes to us.

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