A pint. It’s a British thing. Finns do sauna. Brits do going for a beer. Getting to know someone over a pint is how it’s done. Now-a-days my social life is fairly stable to I’ve kind of forgotten how this hallowed ritual is done. Being an ex-pat for nine years and having a touch of Asperger’s Syndrome doesn’t really help matters either.
Mother Duck and I have a friend called Mark who we see once a year at a Christian festival (New Wine / Finland). Mark’s a busy guy so we sometimes only have enough time to briefly greet each other. Last year though we did manage to catch up at a BBQ, but this year we’d agreed to meet for a beer and catch up properly.
Earlier in the day, Mark had bumped into Mother Duck and reminded her that he and I were meeting for a beer. Due to the fairly fluid timing of things, the best we could agree was that I’d pop over to his cabin at some point in the evening when things had wound down.
I was looking forward to catching up. It would be good to share stories, ask questions and simply pass time together. The week had been hot, sticky and hectic so I was very much looking forward to sharing that almost sacred “Ahhh..” moment that goes with the first pull of a cold beer.
We can be friends with God.
During the week, I had been thinking about how I often keep God at arm’s length. A good while ago I had had to face some home truths, which is never pleasant, and the experience left me reluctant to really, really, allow myself get to close to God. The reasoning was that that if I became close to God, I might get hurt again by being asked to confront things I’m not proud of. We all have those things lurking in our past, so I guess there will be a good number of folks who can relate to this.
As I was walking along the path to Mark’s cabin, God showed me something. There are a whole bunch of similarities to walking boldly to a friends door when calling to go for a beer, and to how Christ followers can relate to God as a heavenly father.
The bible tells us that God met with Moses face-to-face, as one would speak with a friend, and Abraham was actually called a friend of God. Jesus called his first disciples friends, just as He calls His followers friends today. Jesus also says that no-one gets to see the Father unless they go through Him first (which caused a real fuss at the time).
By virtue of being a volunteer I was able to walk down the path in the Staff Only area unchallenged. I was known and I had a badge. Similarly because I am known by Jesus, I am able to call in to see Father God whenever I want. Just as Mark had reminded Mother Duck we were having a beer later, God has made it known through His son Jesus that we are welcome to call in any time.
During the week I took the chance to talk with a couple of other volunteers about my reluctance (fear, to call a spade a spade) in allowing myself to get too close to God. We spent a few moments praying about this. God’s response was pretty cool. Whilst we prayed one of the volunteers saw a picture in her mind’s eye of a wall, my fear, and saw that God had taken a ‘v’ shaped section out of it. No more home-truths or another ear-bashing; just God making the first move in removing a wall that I had built up. He actually wants me to be close to him, just like I love it when the ducklings come to give me a spontaneous hug, ruffle my hair or call me ‘Old Fart”.
I’ve been doing this Christ-following thing for just over 20 years or so, and I’m still learning new things about how much God loves me and how He wants me close to Him. He wants us to relate to Him as Father God. Think about the children who run to Father Christmas for a hug and to sit on his knee and you start to get the picture of how Father God wants us to be.