We might wonder, with small congregations, church closures, and lack of clergy. But from what I have seen, God is definitely still very much alive in rural areas. It’s just sometimes we just don’t see it…
There is an old story or fable told about a far-off land which was ruled by a tyrant. The tyrant had an iron clad grip over all parts of his kingdom, except for one frustrating area. He was unable to destroy the people’s belief in God.
He summoned his counsellors and put the question to them: “Where can I hide God so that the people will end up forgetting him?”
One counsellor suggested that God be hidden on the dark side of the moon. This proposal was debated for some time, but voted down because it was believed that one day scientists would discover a means of space travel and God would end being found again.
Another advisor to the tyrant came up with the idea of burying God beneath the depths of the ocean floor. This was voted down for basically the same reason – it was felt that scientific advancement would lead to the discovery of God even beneath the depths of the ocean floor.
Finally the oldest and wisest of the counsellors had a flash of insight. “I know”, he said, “why don’t we hide God where no one will ever think of finding him?” He explained, “If we hide God in the ordinary things in people’s everyday lives they’ll never find him.”
And so it was done – and they say that people are still looking for God – even today.
In rural life God is there in the ordinary, yet extra-ordinary. The beautiful sunset, the village fete, the changing season, the spring time and the harvest.
God is there in the conversations we have as we walk down the street, in the neighbour we take to the hospital or take shopping with us. God is there in the fundraising, in the lives that we share with others as we come together as a community.
Very often we don’t even realise that we are sharing God’s love but to us we are doing the ordinary, but in God’s eyes we are doing the extra-ordinary.
Our church congregations may be small but Jesus says:
Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name there am I among them.”
And after gathering in Jesus name, praying, and sharing our faith we are commissioned to go out and act in His name, very often we find Christians involved right in the middle of everything going on in Rural Life and that’s just where God is.