I don’t know about you, but my world feels safer than it did last week. Now that the election across the pond has delivered a rational, sane, compassionate individual to rule the free world, I feel safer. Not that I want to embark on a political debate, mind – I just want you to know that I feel more secure.
My all-consuming drive my entire life has been to feel safe. Although I suppose when I was growing up, this strange little kid with a vocabulary that sounded as though she had swallowed the dictionary seemed safe enough to the outside world. I was a curious mixture of intense naivety and articulate precociousness with two parents, a home, a sister and no more or less disadvantaged than most working-class kids living on a Sixties council estate.
But here’s the thing. At the beginning of the summer holidays when most kids would be looking forward to six weeks of unbridled freedom (this was the Sixties remember), playing on building sites, riding gut-churning roundabouts in the local park, heading for Skegness with metal bucket and spade, I confidently expected the Rapture to happen before September. I thought that the Lord could come anytime, in all his glory and the elect would be swept up into the clouds with him and I would be left alone standing on the pavement, before I’d even got to the end of the school holidays.
It didn’t make for a friendly vision of God. It made for an unpredictable landscape, one where the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse could come riding down your street at any time. These harbingers of the Last Judgement might appear just as I was eating my tea or settling down to watch Blue Peter so it was best to be on my guard.
So, to put it mildly a big bogey man in the White House with his finger on the nuclear button surrounded by frenzied acolytes praying ardently for his victory, punching the air with clenched fists, convinced the Creator of the Universe is on their side, is not a good look for me. To say it presses my nuclear button is something of an understatement.
Now – I don’t want anything to do with that God any more. I want a God who doesn’t frighten little children. I want a God who weeps with pain at how we are wrecking our planet – our home that he so lovingly gave us, who weeps at tiny children separated from their parents, at human beings judged on the colour of their skin and dying because money is more important than health. I know that God doesn’t have the vote, but I’m pretty sure where he would put his cross and it wouldn’t be in the red box.
I know now also what I don’t want my God to be like. I know what doesn’t work. I know the God I created in my mind years ago isn’t God at all but a travesty of what a loving God would be. It’s a collage of the God presented to me as a child and which I believed because I didn’t have an alternative. I know I keep going on about it, but I am discovering a different God, light years removed from the God who stalked my early emotionally-challenged landscape.
And as I cautiously track my way through the beginnings of membership of the Third Order, I am finding that the God I want belongs here too. This God rejoices in every element of creation. This God wants loving and secure relationships for everyone. This God accepts every single piece of humanity, not matter who they are, what they’ve done, what they look like or how they identify themselves.
This God is Love.
And I think this God wants me to feel safe. Whoever is in the White House. And I think now that because God is Love, his love extends to everyone. Even those we would demonise because they frighten us.
Even so, I still feel safer with the blue ticket.