In the Western world today materialism and technology appear to dominate our culture. How then do people find faith? It is not sold online, delivered by Amazon or available at the Trafford Centre. Or is it?
We never know when someone will seek God for the first time, or try to rediscover him after a time “in the wilderness”. Some people feel their lives are distant from God and he is absent from them – but it is us who are adrift. God is always present: Jesus promised, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 20).
Finding faith is not about doggedly following rituals or learning a script. It is about having a relationship with God through Jesus. Having Christian faith is not a static state, but a journey.
For some the journey is life-long. It begins in childhood and continues all their lives. For other people the journey may begin later in life. There is no fixed pattern, no rigid map we have to follow. Jesus says, “I stand at the door, and knock: if anyone hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in.” (Revelation 3: 20).
The famous painting, The Light of the World, by Holman Hunt, illustrates this: Jesus is standing at a door that can only be opened from the inside
The “door” is a person’s heart and mind. When we decide to open that door is up to us – God gave people free will. Some open the door and never close it. Others open and close it frequently throughout their lives. Some may seem never to open the door, but Jesus will still continue knocking. He does not give up on us!
The faith journey is not a race. It is very individual and unique, as it is a personal relationship with God. We do have a great guidebook for the journey, in the Bible. Although written thousands of years ago, as we explore it the relevance of its contents for situations today often reveals itself to us.
And God is present in the here and now, present in the very molecules of our being. He is present in the ordinary events of each day, and of course the special occasions, too.
It is often a matter of being alert to God’s presence, listening for that “knock at the door”. Have you heard it yet? You could be like Jacob, who when he was travelling suddenly realised: “Surely the Lord is in this place – and I did not know it!” (Genesis 28: 16). God is there, already knocking, even when we don’t recognise that it’s him.
His invitation can come to us via technology and also by human encounters – in the Trafford Centre, Eden Square, or anywhere else. Jesus is out their knocking, and his message is one of love and hope.
When you let Jesus into your life, you will experience a new beginning. “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5: 17). God does not throw the old “you” away, but re-models your life.
If you hear that knocking at the door, then go ahead and open it. We at St John’s would love to help you in the adventure of finding faith today.