Yesterday on my way back home from the tube station, actually on the way to Tesco to buy some dinner, I was approached by a smiling gentleman who wanted to talk to me about my life. He could see I was in a hurry. He fell into step with me. Could he have my attention for some moments? He could, if he fell into step with me. I had designs on Fish Pie. He just needed to give me a leaflet. I would be most happy to look at it after my fish pie. He was pleased with my accessibility. I took the leaflet happily. He did not know I make a collection of such things and that what mainly interests me is their form rather than their content. At home I have a whole shelf full of such leaflets, all lovingly produced to melt my heart, all adorned by cute little drawings or lush coloured versions of a world that might appeal to a simple-minded eight year old. This too was a naive production. It said: God loves you on its first flap, clearly considered to be a fascinating enough opener to make me read on. I opened it to reveal the second flap where it said that no one is too bad to be outside God’s love. No one is so good they don’t need him. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you have done. God will accept you when you turn to him. I must be desperate. It goes on. Life can be different. you can start again. I must be unhappy. It goes on: God became a man – Jesus Christ- and allowed himself to be executed to solve the problem of our wrong. Yes, he was prepared to die for YOU. How many people do you know who love you so much thay would give their life for you? And so on.
I am fascinated by the alien nature of these attempts to reach out, as well as being puzzled by what it is that this god wants of us. This has never been adequately explained to me. In the catechism I learnt as a child it went: Who made me? Response: God made me. Why did God make me? Response: To know him, love him and serve him and be forever with him in this world and the next. Judging by this, he must be a lonely God.