First Experiences of God

26 November 1977

I remember going to a little Methodist church while I was a youngster, but I don't remember learning anything about God there. It was a nice place to go for a few hours on Sunday morning and gave my mother a good reason to put us in our finery once a week, but that's about all it meant to me. I remember being a Bible quiz team, but I don't remember what I studied other than the order of the books. I know that my Sunday school teacher told us a few stories about his childhood, and that was fine, for I was not ready to understand anything deeper.


But there was one time in which God entered the world of my thoughts. It was a summer day in the middle of the Sunday school years. My best friend Sharon and I were perched high in oak tree it the end of the street. I must have been about seven years old. We climbed to our favorite spots in the tree and settled down to enjoy the leaves blowing in the wind around us. We seemed so far off the ground that one of this, probably me, started to talk about climbing to heaven. It was a place that I heard of, but of which I had never thought.


Sharon was the child of good Catholic parents. My background was Protestant, and in those days the differences were viewed as more important than the similarities. We started talking about where heaven might be and how we could get there. We got and a nasty argument defending our parents beliefs, but we also began forming beliefs of our own. It was my idea that we had to dress up and go to church to get to heaven. Sharon said that was not so important as being good.


How the argument ended I don't know, that many years after, when I became the Child of our King, I remembered the childlike expectancy first awakened on that summer morning high up among the green leaves with my friend.