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Is God here?

March 1, 2013

Each Sunday morning we get together before our church meeting and pray. Almost always someone will ask God to turn up at the meeting: of course, it may not be in those words, we are rather good at using spiritual language! But it does lead to an interesting question.

“where is God, and what does it mean for him to show up?”

The story of the bible is a story of people, a human family – starting with Adam, later becoming the story of Abraham’s family, the Jewish nation – and then getting bigger by becoming `church`. It is a very human story, with love and jealously, with success and failure, with ignorance and understanding, with devotion and betrayal: and here in amongst all that life is intertwined a story of how God is known and gets involved in human life.

This `intertwined story` tells us that sometimes God steps in to help his family – through amazing miracles, sometimes he seems to do nothing – like when the family of Abraham were slaves in Egypt for 400 years: (That is a long time to wait for God to “hear the cries” of his people) Sometimes he will reveal himself, as he does with Moses and Elijah – sometimes he seems to hide himself as he does with Job or David in the Psalms. Sometimes he `blesses` his family with prosperity: flocks and herds and a land flowing with milk and honey, other times he `judges` his family with disaster and even exile.

So what do we expect, or want from God when we ask him to “turn up” when we meet?

We want God to `show` himself: Revealing who he is, what he wants to say to us, helping us understand our place in his story – as people who are loved, saved and called to follow Him.

We want God to `do` things: Bringing solutions to the issues we face, whether that is healing, breakthrough with the problems we face, or freedom from ourselves and our addictions (whether that addiction is pride, anger or alcohol)

The good news is that God does `show` and `do` things among us: But maybe we don’t see and experience all we can of God, because we are looking in the wrong place, we are waiting for God to show up, rather than seeing what He is already doing among us!

The greatest “God showing up” moment in all of history was when Jesus was born. At that moment God was `showing` and `doing`. But it was wrapped up in being human. Despite the Shepherds and Kings worshipping him at his birth for most people who met him they discovered him first as a human, and then only later as the “Lord” – as God. So the way the story of the bible, and the story of the church family since works is that God is at work – in us – and through us – and we meet him in the humanness of our story. We recognise his love, as people love us. We see his humanness in our relationships, in our humanity, and then gradually understand that we are also encountering God revealing himself, and working in our lives – in our world.

Perhaps this is what Jesus meant when he said “the kingdom of God is among you”. We live and embody the Kingdom through the relationships we have. Kingdom is relational, church is where kingdom is: But church is the people not the meeting or the building!

Is God here? Will he show up today? Yes – he will always be with us in our relationships with each other. Didn’t He say “where two or three are gathered in my name,  I am there among them”.

 

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