A few weeks ago towards the end of the meeting in Zac's, Sean spoke about not restricting God, not limiting him. It reminded me of a piece I'd written a few years ago. I re-vamped it and read it the following week. It's about God being everywhere if we look. This is an excerpt from it (or rather two excerpts from the beginning and the end). The rest can be read here.
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I used to keep God in a box. Well, actually it was a tin, a Golden Virginia tobacco tin that my grandfather gave me. I kept the tin on the bookshelf in my bedroom next to Five Get Lost at Sea. Every night before I went to sleep, I’d take down the tin, open it and talk to God.
Then one day, a few weeks ago, I was in a meeting, and listening to someone speaking. Actually I was half listening because I was looking around at the same time. At the other side of the room I could see a man with a beard. He was making coffee for someone who’d just arrived late. Standing next to him was a man with a shaved head and lots of tattoos; I’d seen him deal gently with a drunk. Sitting at one side was a woman. You can see from her face that her life hasn’t been easy but her eyes were shining. Near her was another woman. Her eyes were closed but her skin that only months ago had been furrowed was smooth. Across from them were two lads who, despite having their own troubles, help others in charity shops. And then there was the man whose wife is seriously ill. And the girl whose intelligence and thoughtfulness can stay hidden unless it’s looked for. And the woman who doesn’t often speak but when she does, you want to listen. And the man and his dog who share everything. And the woman who’s come into the warm to sleep. Then I caught the eye of the speaker and he’s grinning as he talks over the snoring.
And suddenly I realised. I’d been looking so hard I couldn’t see.
God was in church, just as real-ly as he is out on the cliffs. And maybe he does smell of coconut or tobacco or mints - or alcohol.