‘God is going to meet with you wherever you are.’ Christian Viewpoint meets Peter MacPherson
I was so encouraged when Peter MacPherson told me of the ‘incredible revelation’ when he realised ‘there’s nothing you need to do. God is going to meet with you wherever you are.’
Peter is a gifted Inverness-based musician with a 1st Class Honours BA in music. He grew up in Christian family – his father is a minister – and was surrounded by strong Christian role models. But as a child, he tells me, he didn’t personally ‘own’ this faith – it was simply the environment in which he moved.
Attending a summer Christian camp when he was around 14 provided safe space where he could ask all his questions about Christianity. He was seeking God, asking ‘I’d love you to seek me too.’ And he was not disappointed. The ‘sense of presence and of peace’ he received was enduring.
Peter describes the challenges of university – seeking his own identity among hundreds of others on a similar quest. He made good friends who were not practising Christians, but in his free time he immersed himself in church activities, neglecting them.
Yet he found the intense church-focussed busy-ness dissatisfying: he realised he was trying to summon God through Christian activism. Which is why he found it so liberating to realise we don’t need to persuade God to be present: God is always there.
In 3rd year Peter devoted more time to his friends, while still attending church. He invited them to breakfast regularly, and in this mutually-supportive group, Peter experienced love, kindness and forgiveness. He realised that God was present in these friends despite the fact that they would not call themselves Christians, and they brought him into ‘a deeper relationship with God.’ He says ‘I certainly feel I am meeting with God when I meet with these people.’
Fellow-millennials are often turned off Christianity by the judgementalism they experience, the perception that church is an exclusive club, the terrible things they see posted on-line in the name of Christianity.
But, says Peter, God is always close to us. ‘Jesus shows up and is actually a gift for all of us.’ All we need to do is to say ‘yes!’ to the gift, to ‘invest in it,’ as Peter puts it.
Peter’s story encourages me. Often do not sense God’s presence in church and feel guilty as a result. Often I find it hard to connect with God ‘in the moment.’ But Peter’s words came as a whisper from God. And I looked round the living room and saw God in the faces of my wife and daughter, God in the fiery sunset, in the crisp autumnal leaves.
This God who constantly seeks us saying ‘I’d love you to seek me too.’