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February 2015
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newlsetters Waiting for God
By Revd David Burgess

What do you do if you encounter God in a special way? The disciples Peter, James and John had just such a meeting in the Christian Gospels; you may know it as the story of the Transfiguration and it’s often used as a Bible reading for church services on the Sunday before Lent – which this year begins with Ash Wednesday on the 18th of this month.

Jesus took his three friends up to the top of a hill to pray – and their experience was unique. They saw Jesus’ appearance transform into shining whiteness; they saw Moses and Elijah appear and talk to him; then they heard the voice of God himself addressing them.

When a momentous event, good or bad, happens we often want to mark it in some way. It’s a human thing to do; for example I’ve written this article over the weekend of the terrorist attacks in Paris where a mass response of precisely this kind has been happening.

But it might not be what God wants. In the Bible story, Peter wants to talk it through, to analyse, to control, to make his mark on the events. “Let’s put up three shelters; one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah,” he blurts out. But the Gospel writers put Peter in his place: “He didn’t know what he was saying.” What he needed to learn was that the Transfiguration wasn’t about him, that he wasn’t in control, and that his role was simply to wait on God.

Lent is a time when Christians focus on their relationship with God; quiet and a spiritual ‘slowing-down’ in order to wait on God are frequently used as aids to help us do this.

Sometimes it’s better to respond to God in silence, to allow him a word in edgeways. When we go through life with the attitude that we know better, we run the risk of thinking we know better than God.

So, over this Lenten period, let God speak. Don’t interrupt him or try to control or manipulate him. If we avoid that trap, if we allow him to reveal himself to us, then our mountaintop experiences are enhanced and any low points which may follow are easier to deal with.

As with Jesus’ disciples, you might not understand what’s going on between you and God at a particular moment in time; but what’s really important to know is that he is with us in the highs and the lows and on that we really can trust and depend.

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