God is in the Details Ed Lynn 2


Every day growing up when I climbed the stairs to my bedroom, I was greeted by a drawing by my father called ‘God is in the Details’. I was reminded of it recently by the BBC Pause for Thought by Rabbi Pete Tobias who shared his gratitude for the blessing of being ‘unanswered’…

  • “Ever since our rabbis’ retreat a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been thinking about ways in which we might experience God. I recall one particular occasion, as I was considering becoming a rabbi, when I stood in Watford’s pedestrian precinct one wet November night more than a quarter of a century ago, surrounded by darkened shop windows. I looked up to the sky with arms outstretched and challenged the heavens. ‘Well?’ I said, perhaps out loud, I don’t recall. ‘Do you want me to do this rabbi thing or not?’ Nothing happened. And I think I’m grateful for that. Because if God had spoken to me or appeared before me, bearded and with a booming voice, no one would have believed me. Even I wouldn’t have believed me. But it occurs to me now that perhaps God was in that place – and is in other places where we ask for inspiration, or express our doubts. When we ask those ultimate questions about our world, our lives, ourselves, in some ways we’re challenging and questioning the very essence of our existence. It’s the search for answers that defines us; it’s the very basis of our development, our civilisation, our humanity. And it wouldn’t be much of a challenge if as soon as we asked a question, the answer was shouted down at us from the heavens. I think God is actually in the question. The kind of question that asks for guidance, that asks for explanations, that asks for help, that asks for reasons. The answer, I think, is to go on asking the questions. Because as soon as we think we’ve found the answer, we might become complacent, self-satisfied – dogmatic even – as we cease to ask the question and seek merely to convince ourselves and others of the correctness of our answer. That’s precisely the point, I think, where God becomes absent from our religion, our world and our lives. And I’m sure we – and God – deserve better than that.”

On this day of Thanksgiving, may we be thankful for our ignorance that keeps us humble and ever-seeking. And may our questions be a plentiful as the ornamentation on a Victorian ‘Painted Lady’.


God is in the Details Ed Lynn 1