I heard a mother tell her child that God lived far away, beyond the clouds. She said she did not want the child to think of God as close by, ever watching and keeping score.
A few years ago we saw a group of people move from Taiwan to Texas because they thought that God was going to make an appearance on TV on Channel 18 on March 31st. As we know, God did not appear on the TV channel at that time and date. The only result was to up the ratings of Channel 18. I have to admire the zeal of those people. I do not know why they would think that God is more likely to appear in Texas than Taiwan.
Many of us tend to think of God as far away, not part of our everyday life. Our Gospel tells us where God can be found. Jesus says, if you love Me, My Father and I will come to you and make Our dwelling with you. Who would have thought of that? That God would be that close to me, in my own house, in my own neighborhood, in my own small world.
But when you think about it, they are the kinds of places that Christ most often appeared. A peasant girl gave birth in a manger to a baby boy. That was God appearing in human form, but most people did not recognize Him because it was all too ordinary. In the city of Nazareth, a young man labored with a hammer and saw in a carpenter’s shop. That was God making Himself known, but most people did not see him. He was too ordinary. A home in Bethany had a frequent visitor. He ate with them, talked with them, laughed and cried with them. The visitor was Jesus, God incarnate, but almost no one recognized Him: He was too ordinary.
If you and I are ever going to see God, feel God’s presence, we need to stop thinking of Him in terms of far-away places and dramatic events. He is in the here and now.
My grandfather was in the First World War. I will always remember him telling me that they were in trenches, and after the battle was over, he would see the medic crawling around the battlefield, tending the wounded. He would see the Chaplain alongside him, tending to the dying. He told me, for the first time in his life, the Gospels came alive, for in those two men, he could see Christ. The healing Christ. The consoling Christ.
If you and I see God, it will probably not be in a distant place. It will probably not be in the dramatic event. It will be in the courage and kindness, and sacrificial deeds of ordinary people. And they are sitting all around you. My friends, go forth and help someone, to gain one little glimpse of God.