FOR MANY of us the past few months may have been very challenging. Some of us may have felt isolated and alone, others have been wearied by the pressures of work and children, all of us have had to adjust to a new way of life that for many has felt arid and joyless. For Christians, finding our churches closed and being unable to sing God’s praises together has been a huge loss, a bit like being in exile. Even now, though some churches have reopened, the social distancing, masks, one-way systems and sanitising gel are reminders of the still present dangers of Covid-19, and of the closeness with one another that we have lost. It’s tempting to wonder where God is in all of this – is he keeping his distance, too?
In our parish one of the questions we often ask one another, particularly at the start of team meetings, is, “Where have you noticed God?” We are encouraged to reflect over the past few days, and to think of times when we have noticed God at work in our community, or in and through the lives of people we have met.
For me, one such occasion was a lady who knocked at my door with a potted rose bush in her hand. “I was praying,” she said, “And God put you on my heart. I don’t know why, but I thought you might like this.” I didn’t know why either, but we had a good chat and I received the rose bush with gratitude. A few days later, after an emotionally challenging day, I noticed the rose was in bloom. And God whispered, “I know. I care. That’s why I sent you roses.”
Perhaps not everyone would attribute their acts of kindness to a prompt from God, but I do believe that he is at work in and through the acts of loving kindness that are expressed every day in our community. I also believe that, when we seek God’s heart and ask him to show us the world through his eyes and to put on our hearts the things, or the people, that are on his, then we will find our hearts melting. And when someone needs reminding that God knows and cares about them, and understands what they are going through, we might even be the ones through whom he speaks.
Where have you noticed God?
Penny is Associate Vicar, St John the Baptist, Gosbrook Road