When God plays left of field...

Bangor Mail - - NEWS -

FEW of us would have pre­dicted that this would be the year when we de­cided to pull the plug on our re­la­tion­ship with Europe or that a TV celebrity - who also hap­pens to be a bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man - would be­come Pres­i­dent Elect of the United States of Amer­ica.

What­ever earth­quakes have rocked parts of the south­ern hemi­sphere, the north has ex­pe­ri­enced dif­fer­ent, although hardly less tu­mul­tuous shifts. They say life is un­pre­dictable and that could prob­a­bly qual­ify as the un­der­state­ment of the cen­tury.

Of course, these great events have taken place un­der the spot­light glare of a world ob­sessed with 24 hour me­dia, the lat­est Car­pool Karaoke and fas­ci­na­tion with Ed Balls’ ef­forts on Strictly Come Danc­ing. It’s not just the sem­i­nal events which flood our screens, fill our in­boxes and snapchat their way onto our smart­phones.

Strangely, it wasn’t un­der the gaze of a watch­ing world when God showed up that first Christ­mas. We’re told the on­look­ers were some shep­herds, mind­ing their own busi­ness and hop­ing for a rel­a­tively has­sle-free night, when some­thing ex­ploded upon them and they were told to go and find God. We can imag­ine their re­ac­tion. ‘Find God’? ‘ Yes, that’s right, be­cause a child has been born to a young cou­ple, sort of refugee types and he’s ly­ing in a feed­ing box in that vil­lage a few miles from here. And he’s God’s Son’.

Any­one other than the shep­herds might well have won­dered whether this was some kind of a joke and stayed put. But they didn’t and, well, the rest is his­tory.

This tells us some­thing about God. We may look in all sorts of tra­di­tion­ally re­li­gious places and try to see the di­vine hand in great and seis­mic events. But when God shows up, it can be ut­terly un­ex­pected and won­der­ful for that very fact. It might be in the small things or when we feel we least de­serve at­ten­tion and God be­comes real and liv­ing to us - wait­ing in line at the su­per­mar­ket for ex­am­ple, a chance com­ment from a friend over a drink in the pub or when walk­ing the dog on a cold win­ter morn­ing.

I hope and pray that you dis­cover some­thing of God’s love and care for you over this Christ­mas pe­riod. Don’t be sur­prised if it is in the place you least ex­pect, God has al­ways played left field.

Right Rev­erend Andy John

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