It matters that Milly hears about God. For although Milly doesn’t realize it, Milly is perishing. Milly doesn’t see God as important because the Devil has blinded her so she can’t see. Bright, well-educated, professional Milly thinks she is alive with all her life ahead of her. She doesn’t know how dark and desperate her situation is. Milly needs the God who said ‘let light shine out of darkness’ to shine into her heart ‘to give the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’ (2 Corinthians 4:6).
How is that light to shine? How is the light of God to shine into Milly’s life? What was it that St Paul said in our reading?
‘We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.’ (2 Corinthians 4:2)
How are we going to commend ourselves to the conscience of Milly in the sight of God?
Synod, St Paul writes:
‘But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture — “I believed, and so I spoke”—we also believe, and so we speak … ’ (2 Corinthians 4:13)
The only hope for Milly, and for millions like her, is if we speak to her of God. Again, not because she wants to hear, but because she needs to hear. Because if she doesn’t hear, then she will perish, whatever else the future may hold for her.
This means that whether we know God personally for ourselves and know God collectively as a Church is of immense significance, although she does not know it, for Milly. For it is only when God is absolutely and completely at the centre of all that we do that we will be able to speak to her of and for God.
Synod, may we, like St Paul, be able to say: ‘we too believe and so we speak’.
May our Synod be first and last about God.