Mark 8 v 11 - 13

I had a good friend, now deceased, who attended a church I was involved with for over a year. He never thought of himself as a Christian believer, but was interested and attracted to the faith. Most of all, he sought a sign that God was real, he was mainly wanting to see an attestable healing miracle. It was with a little disappointment that I heard his testimony one Sunday on why he was not yet a Christian, despite the many positive experiences he had known by coming to church for a time. He has come to mind as I've read this short passage as yet another who was so blind that he couldn't see, just like the Pharisees. The Jewish religious leaders, just like my friend Peter, looked for God in the abnormal. They believed that when the Messiah came that all sorts of unusual phenomenon would accompany His arrival and this is what they insisted on experiencing with this man Jesus who claimed to be the Anointed One. However, to Jesus it was clear that they were completely blind to the handiwork of God: the whole world was full of signs of His loving presence. He did not think, like the Pharisees, that God had to break in from the outside, but that God was clearly and evidently in the world and anyone who had eyes to see could notice His presence.

The mark of truly religious people is not that they attend church regularly in order to find God, but that they find God everywhere, sanctifying even the most common place situation. I recall going to Reading for an interview. It was not a successful time- I was applying to join a group of fundamentalist churches and they had told me to leave the Bible college I was attending and move churches (which I was not going to do)- and I remember coming out of the building and being completely confused as to where I had left the car. I wandered around the centre of Reading for about half an hour before I found it and in that time, although I was concerned about finding the car and about what I should do next job-wise, I felt God's presence and His peace descend. Reading is not the most attractive place, but God was there!

God is abundantly in everything we see-the sunrise and sunset, the giants of nature such as the elephant and giraffe and the very smallest living things. I experience His creativity when I watch the lifecycle of the caterpillar/ butterfly and read about the dance of the bees as they produce honey. Where do you see God?

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