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Some while ago, I picked up a book in a second hand bookshop. It was an old, slightly faded paperback with what looked like an intriguing title: The God I Want. Published in the late 1960s, it was a collection of essays by various public figures explaining the kind of God they could cope with, the God they could bring themselves to believe in.

None of them said they wanted a crucified God. The cross of Jesus simply bars the way to that approach by confronting us with something that so offends common sense that it makes us start back at square one. It directs us, at the start of our search for God to a scene which tells of the absence of God, the strange and counter-intuitive wisdom of God.

It tells us that if we are to find the true God, we need to give up our ideas of what God should be like and sit and listen for a while. It tells us that the journey to find God starts, not with human wisdom, human chattering and speculation on what kind of God we might like, what kind of God we can get our heads around, what kind of God we cm bring ourselves to believe in, but instead, we should stop talking, just for once. The journey to God begins in silence, not speculation.

Graham Tomlin, Looking Through the Cross: The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book 2014, Bloomsbury, 2014, pp.27-28.

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