God wants us to come closer to him

Rev Dr Susan Pulko.
Rev Dr Susan Pulko.

There wasn’t much that was amusing about the pre-referendum campaigning, but one thing did make me smile.

It was a cartoon featuring quite a prominent politician wearing a badge saying ‘In-ish’. You can probably work out who it was.

All Saints Church on Londesborough Road, Market Weighton.

All Saints Church on Londesborough Road, Market Weighton.

I could see his predicament: he was in favour of staying in the EU, as were many of his party, but that brought him into an uncomfortable level of agreement with people at the other end of the political spectrum, and I suspect he felt his image could be damaged if he had too high a profile.

I smiled because of the irony of the situation, but also because it describes so well how many of us feel about Christianity.

We live in what is nominally a Christian country, and our laws and ideas about what is ‘good behaviour’ tend to come from the teachings of Jesus, or from elsewhere in the Bible, although the days are gone when nearly all of us describe ourselves as Christians, and I suppose that’s good in so far as it is honest.

But it’s interesting that a far higher percentage of us describe ourselves as Christian when we’re admitted to hospital than do in the census. Bad weather Christians, perhaps.

Many of us don’t bother much with God a lot of the time, but we feel that major festivals like Christmas and Easter aren’t complete without the traditional religious practices, so a visit to church is called for, and we like to involve God in the important events in our lives like marriage and the arrival of a baby. Milestone Christians, maybe.

Others are in church regularly, and pray every day, sometimes alone, sometimes with other people.

But most of us feel some embarrassment about being seen as holy, and we certainly wouldn’t want to be thought of as fanatics. I suppose we’d call ourselves practising Christians.

But God is a fanatic.

He’s fanatical when it comes to his love for us.

Whether we’re bad weather Christians, milestone Christians, practising Christians, Jewish, Muslim, seeking God but not finding him yet, or whether we describe ourselves as having no religion, God loves us and wants us to come closer to him.

Our job is to listen to his voice, whether it’s a quiet whisper in our everyday lives, or a mighty bellow in a crisis.