Where Is God?


Word Magazine 
May 1968  Page 7-8 

 

WHERE
IS GOD?

 by
the Rev. Fr. George A. Aswad

 

You are
seated in a church pew. You are seated in the House of God. This morning you
made a decision to visit God.—Why?

 

When you
visit a relative or friend, you go for a purpose—usually with love—to see
and to talk to them. Sometimes you call or make an appointment so you are sure
they are home and prepared to greet you.

 

This is
God’s House. He is always here. The appointment is for every Sunday, same
time, same place. This would be a most opportune time to discuss the question,
“Why are you here?”; to speak to you about being on time for your visit with
God; about showing respect; participating in the conversation with God which is
the Divine Liturgy; partaking of the refreshments, that which refreshes the
soul, Holy Communion. But these subjects are for other sermons. This morning let
us talk about the question that is on the lips of the oppressed; those in fear;
the people that are in need; on the lips of all who view the world in all its
misery;  the question—”Where is
God?”

 

Father
Michael Shahin tells of his visit to a hospital in Syracuse to visit a
parishioner. After a conversation, he asks her, “Where is God?” Her answer
is, “God is in Heaven.” Father Michael turns to a little old lady in the
next bed and asks, “Where is God?” Her answer is, “God is here in my
heart.” Dearly beloved, I ask you, which lady had the greatest faith?

 

A
minister in Louisville, Kentucky. explained the presence of God to his
parishioners this way: “God is right here. I can reach out and shake hands
with God.”

 

There is
the story of a famous English surgeon. Lord Moynihan; who was invited to operate
before a group of distinguished doctors. After the operation, one doctor asked
him, “How can you work so calmly and well, undisturbed by the onlookers?”
The surgeon’s answer was, “When I operate, there are just three people in
the room: the patient, myself, and God.”

 

The true
Christian must feel the very presence of God and the Lord. He must say, “God
is here in my heart!” It is when we lose sight of God that we become atheists,
alcoholics, adulterers, sinners, misguided and hypocritical followers of God—a
God we have lost in the dense fog of our spiritual blindness.

 

I saw a
war story on TV the other night—an exciting drama: soldiers shooting guns;
planes diving, spitting their pellets of death; trucks, tanks, and raging fires;
people dying. Why, they were even killing women and defenseless children! It was
a great “production,” except that—it was real, and those lying in the
streets were really dead! The looks of fear on the faces of the people were
real. I was watching a news report on the war in Saigon. TV was bringing into
our living room the awesome horror of war. Amid the noises of war and the
screams of death, we cry out: “Where is God?” “Has God left us?” “Is
He dead?” The answer is, “God is here—but the world has lost sight of
Him.”

 

Do you
want more proof, more evidence, about a Godless world? Read a newspaper or a
magazine:  War, Crime, Dope, Hate,
Sex! Why do we sit back and watch some misguided designers disrobe our young
women—our daughters? Why do we allow publishers to print obscene and lewd
pictures and risqué stories? Authors publish stories about the excitement of
committing adultery, and the movies draw crowds by simply advertising. “This
movie is recommended for adult and mature audiences.”

 

Those
responsible are getting rich, and why? Because the public, the people,
Christians, you and I, will buy these things—with our money and with our
minds; we accept them, body and soul, and we say to our children: “It is all
right when you are adult and mature.”

 

The
Church—the one force capable of fighting back—is not getting the full
support of the people. For some reason, the message is not as appealing as the
mighty forces that push God out of man’s life. We do not accept the Church
with our bodies and our souls, and by our actions we say to our children: “God
is some faint image in the pages of an ancient dusty Bible. He is a sleeping God
who watches the world commit suicide, physically and morally.”

 

Tolstoy,
when he was fifty years old, became very despondent. He could not write. He even
feared to be alone with himself, for he had the compulsion to commit suicide.
One day while walking in the woods, he found himself thinking about life and the
existence of God. He noticed that every time he really thought about the living
God, every time he said out loud, “Our Father in Heaven,” he felt a joy, a
new peace. He had once again found his God.

 

An active
Church is a living Church; a living Church is one in which God is alive because
the congregation has Him in focus. SOYO is an organization that was once very
strong, and a moving force in the Church. It was a living organization because
it had a living God. For some reason, SOYO died a little. The spirit was weak.
It was in need of revitalizing. New leaders like President Terence Jabour are
inspiring us and bringing God back into the Organization. Then God again becomes
the focus of SOYO’s function, when the identity of God replaces the names of
groups and individuals, then will SOYO live and once again become a moving force
in the Orthodox Church of America.

 

Our
church organizations bring us into contact with God and people. They make God
real for us because we are working for Him through the Church. Through our
organizations we become doers instead of viewers.

 

Finally,
our Church Services make God real for us. Prayers and fasting make God real for
us. Communion offers us a living God, for Christ said, “This is My Body, this
is My Blood.” This is the Living God. God is here on the Altar; He is here,
this morning, in our hearts.

 

 

A SOYO
sermon preached by the Rev. Fr. George A. Aswad at St. George’s Church,
Niagara Falls. N.Y., at the visit of the Regional President to the local CAN-AM
Chapter.