Small daughter is going through a “what if?” phase, and whilst providing hypothetical answers to seeming endless scenarios, the lyrics to a song called “One of Us” by Joan Osborne popped into my mind. It’s a song about how we would behave if we knew who God was and whether seeing Him would make a difference to our beliefs. I particularly like the chorus:
“What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us?
Just a stranger on a bus, trying to make his way home.”
It seems to me that this is quite a fitting “what if?” question for Easter time. We believe that God sent Jesus to live amongst us but after his death it is our belief in Him that sustains us even though we can’t see Him. But what if that isn’t the end of the story? What if God decided to come to earth for himself and chose to live quietly amongst us? What if God is the bus driver who took you to work this morning, or the harassed Mum rushing to get her children to school on time? What if He is the waitress at the restaurant you were rude to because your meal didn’t arrive quickly enough? Or perhaps the man selling the Big Issue in town? He could be anybody at all whom you come into contact with during your daily life, and you would never know.
The big question is whether you would treat that person any differently if you thought that they were actually God. The answer to that should of course be no, because you should treat everybody with the respect with which you would treat God, but we all know that not many of us actually do that. We’re rushing about from one moment to the next, filling our minds with information that we must not forget and our minutes with jobs that must be done. We don’t always have time to think about every other person we might meet because we just have too much to do.
I didn’t give anything up for Lent; instead I tried to do something positive every day and whilst I had a few lapses, on the whole I didn’t do too badly and it was good for me to remember to do it and the reason why. Now that Lent is almost over, it would be easy to let those good intentions slip – much as New Year’s resolutions fade – but because it didn’t involve giving up chocolate, I’m inclined to try to keep it up and perhaps even add a new intention: to try to treat others with the respect that I would offer to God if He was really standing in front of me. It sounds easy enough as I’m a polite person, but I know that it goes beyond good manners and at times it won’t be easy at all. But it’s worth a try.