Where are you?

Alice Willington

During lockdown, I lost the ability to cook. Something which for over 25 years had given myself and others pleasure and delight, and physical, emotional and spiritual nourishment, ceased to function. This caused a deeper problem than too-frequent Deliveroo orders; in that same 25 years, I had also learned that daily and weekly routines of nourishment and activity were the most important way in which I sought God. Now part of that discipline no longer worked.

Where is God? This question prompts another: when we look for God, what are we looking for? A current answer to the first question might be, “Look at the steadfast care with which we have loved each other over the last six months.” This indicates that enduring, practical love would be what is sought, and where God might be found. As we read our way through the Psalms at Morning and Evening Prayer, the Psalmist doesn’t hold back from expressing the need for justice, healing, redemption, forgiveness, deliverance, vengeance, love, life, or God alone.

What are you looking for? Or, what do you need? “I don’t know” is a start. In the first chapter of John’s Gospel, Andrew sees Jesus and hears him described as The Lamb of God. This is enough to make him and another follow Jesus. Jesus turns around and says, bluntly, “What do you want?” Their response is uncertain. They don’t strike back at Jesus’s apparent hostility with a witty “Manna with mint sauce, please.” That would be more Nathanael’s style. They ask, “Rabbi, where are you staying?” Where are you? Where are you to be found? Jesus’ answer is not “here”, or “there”, but “Come and see.” Come with me and look.

When life becomes dark and tiring, looking for light, life, love and hope beyond ourselves and our usual routines might seem like one challenge too many. Yet in looking, and seeking, and hoping, the God who is with us and is steadfast love gives us eyes to see. “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart, I will be found by you.” Jeremiah 29 verses 13 and 14. For myself, I received an unexpected gift of food from a dearly loved friend, and it was enough.

Alice Willington