NEW

We Wish You a Merry Saturnalia: Northern Churchman

We Wish You a Merry Saturnalia? The Northern Churchman There is a familiar feel to this time of year. The Christmas advertising on television, the darker evenings, the Carol Services – and the inevitable scoffers who call the Christmas story a myth. Not ‘Once in Royal...

Mark Pickles: The Story of Two Trampolines

Gospel-Driven Anglicanism By the Revd Dr Mark Pickles The Story of the Two Trampolines:  A passage that is frequently referred to during times of great revival is Isaiah 64:1-3:  “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your...

Ten Thousand Bibles for London’s Children

TBS Auxiliary Meets Ten Thousand Bibles For London’s Children The Greater London Auxiliary of the Trinitarian Bible Society was delighted to report at its Annual Meeting held on 15 November that over 10,000 Bibles have been distributed to London schools since the...

Good News for Egypt’s Christians

Barnabas Fund Reports Good News for Egypt’s Christians The government of Egypt licensed 125 churches and church-affiliated buildings on 14 November. It is the 24th batch of approvals made since the government committee overseeing the licensing process started work in...

Church Society’s Response to MP Ben Bradshaw

Church Society’s Response to MP Ben Bradshaw In the aftermath of Desmond Tutu’s daughter being refused permission to preside at a funeral in a Church of England parish, Labour MP Ben Bradshaw told The Guardian that the “C of E must move swiftly to welcome lesbian...

Collins: Who’s Your Righteousness?

Who’s Your Righteousness? By the Revd Canon Chuck Collins Who’s your righteousness? "The Lord our Righteousness" was the sermon preached March 20, 1757 at St. Mary's Church in Oxford. It offended nearly everyone that day and William Romaine was invited to never preach...

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Act of 1963

Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction Act of 1963 Persons Against Whom Proceedings May be Instituted. Proceedings under this Measure may be instituted against an archbishop, any diocesan bishop or any suffragan bishop commissioned by a diocesan bishop or any other bishop or a...

Editorial: Joy to the World Cup

Editorial Joy to the World Cup The result of the 2022 FIFA World Cup is already in. And it appears the Church of England has lost. The latest advice from the Church of England’s Support Hub is for parishes to consider the timing of Christmas Carol Services to avoid...

Symes to Step Down from Anglican Mainstream Leadership

Symes to Step Down from Anglican Mainstream Leadership By Chris Sugden Andrew Symes is to stand down as Executive Secretary of Anglican Mainstream on January 1, 2023, after nearly ten years in post. Rev Symes, 56, who had earlier served with Crosslinks in South...

Retired Bishop Given Life Suspension

Retired Bishop Given Life Suspension By George Conger The former Bishop of Ramsbury has been suspended for life from the ordained ministry after he admitted to having sexually abused two women. The Daily Mail reported the Rt Rev. Peter Hullah had been the subject of...

Pilgrim’s Process: The Presence of God

Pilgrim’s Process

The Presence of God

By The Revd Dr Peter Sanlon

There are times when a pilgrim feels God is distant – the Psalmist writes of seasons of God’s apparent absence due to suffering, turmoil, depression, fear, sin and opposition. When for any reason God seems distant from us, we should search our hearts and actions to see if any of the blame lies with us, and pray ‘Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.’ (Ps. 51:11) This seeking of the Lord and desire for His presence is part of the normal spiritual dynamic of a pilgrim.

We tend to get very upset at sensing the loss of God’s presence in changed or extreme circumstances. However perhaps we should be more worried at the common problem of pilgrims settling into a situation where they as a general condition, do not feel any personal genuine experience of God’s presence. Truths from the Bible can be affirmed at an intellectual level; church is attended; error can be corrected and superficial virtue practised – but God is not felt to be present and not overly missed. That is a serious problem for any pilgrim.

When we fall into a routine pattern of not feeling we need to sense and know God is near – then we should recognise an urgent need to ‘return to the Lord’ (Zech. 1:3).

Jesus warned the religious leaders of his day that there is a difference between knowing the continue to the Bible and actually coming to Him. ‘You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life … yet you refuse to come to me.’ (Jn. 6:39-40) God is actively seeking for people who will ‘worship him in Spirit and Truth’ (Jn. 4:23). The question is – when we feel God is distant from us, will we respond to his searching for us? Will we plead with God to draw near us and make Himself known to us?

It is difficult with all the pressures of daily life, but for some of us it may be helpful to set aside half a day or longer to turn off digital devices, meditate on scripture and give significant time to asking God to be present and near. As we journey through a world with much sadness and suffering, we all need to know God’s presence with us. ‘Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.’ (James 4:8)

Rev. Dr. Peter Sanlon is rector of Emmanuel Anglican Church, Tunbridge Wells: www.emmanuelanglican.uk

Previous

Next