Sometimes it was easier in early days to know where God wasn’t. He wasn’t in those interminable sermons where the preacher would make one, two, three points and everyone would fumble in their Bibles and agree. He didn’t seem to be around in piano lessons where my irascible, impatient teacher hit the keys with her silver pencil when my scales went wrong. And he certainly wasn’t in needlework lessons when I struggled to thread the sewing machine whilst the rest of the class raced ahead with finishing their simple summer skirts.
It was hard to know where God was really. He wasn’t in the obvious places where you’d expect to find him - like church, like a getting-on-your-knees-hands-together-eyes-closed-praying kind of way. Trouble was, that was where most people found him – or said they did. I suppose they must have meant it and I wasn’t looking hard enough in the right places.
Then gradually over many years, I began to realise that God could be anywhere and everywhere – and inside and outside me all at the same time! He didn’t have to stay behind in church on a Sunday and help put away the chairs and wash up the coffee cups. He could go where he liked. And if I found the Bible hard going and the kind of prayer that said – ‘Let us pray,’ then God didn’t mind that at all. In fact, God said – what do you enjoy? What do you like? What brings you to life?
So God and I began to have a different kind of conversation. It was quite cautious on my part at first because I couldn’t quite believe God was this interested in what I was interested in. But God stuck to his guns and said, ‘Well get this. I made it all anyway – so no odds to me which part of my creation you want to tune into….’
And I knew then that God was there all along but I’d never said hello to him. (He didn’t mind by the way because he’s not like that). And I realised that God was there for me in my love of music which has been around ever since I realised ‘Baa baa black sheep’ had a great tune. God was there for me in every hymn, every anthem, every symphony, every song, every cadence, every inversion, every note. Especially in Bruce Springsteen and the ELO. Even in the Eurovision Song Contest. And God continues to be with me every day in music - I heard it on the radio, the LP, the cassette, the CD, and even in a clever little invention of God’s and Steve Jobs called the iPhone.
So God can be in anything. The important thing is that he is in what is important to you. What you are passionate about. What brings you to life. It can be anything. Reading, swimming, gardening, grandchildren, macramé, sky-diving, stamp collecting. He’s done it all.
God for me became real when I joined his choir and learned his harmonies. And he constantly introduces me to new songs and the music goes on and on.