Monday, 30 December 2013

God - the 'Beyond' in the Midst

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor who went to prison for his beliefs and who was executed by the Gestapo shortly before the end of the Second World War, once wrote: “God is the “beyond” in the midst of our life.  The Church stands not where human powers give out, on the borders, but in the centre of the village.”   

I think that what Bonhoeffer meant by that is that God’s being ‘beyond’, God’s transcendence, to use the big theological word, is to be found right in the midst of life.  God is engaged with people where they are.   

Sometimes we seem to think that we need to move away from the ordinary, to discover that special place, in order to find God.  Not so!  Of course, we can go off to special places.  We can seek out that extraordinarily holy location.  That can be good.  It can be special.  It can be meaningful.  But we need to remember that we can also find God, and that God is very present, in the ordinary things and places of life, in the supermarket, on the bus, at the school, in the cafĂ©, on the street, at the leisure centre, wherever people go and gather.  

Essentially, the church is to be found, with God, ‘in the centre of the village’.  God is right where people are.  There is no need to go looking for God.  We won’t find God hiding in obscure corners.  God is where God is needed.

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