As a young child I used to have a view of God as a bearded smiling figure who was “up there” looking down upon us all. I must have got this idea from school and church.
At school we sang hymns, had the minister visit, went to the local parish church for an end-of-year service. In Primary 2 I remember Mrs McKinnon marching up and down the isles between the regimented rows of six-year-olds chanting out Psalm 23 from the psalter. We dutifully followed the chants and learned the psalm.
In Primary 4 Mrs Bowman read stories out of the Bible every morning. I remember about Abraham, and Jacob and Esau. On reflection, I think she must have been a true Christian, though at the time I thought everyone was. The only other thing I can remember about her was the strange headbands she used to wear.
I went to Church (of Scotland) with my brother, though we went to different Sunday School classes. I remember thinking it was funny that people dressed up for Church. Was God impressed with them, even if on the inside they were unchanged? It’s quite remarkable to me that I was able to think like that. I still think like that.
I don’t know where I got the idea of the fact that God is holy. As in most liberal ecclesiastical establishments God’s love was the idea majored on. Holiness was left in the shadows. Yes, we were encouraged in the idea that there was ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and God is on the side of ‘right’. But I don’t remember any teaching on God’s holiness or his reaction to sin.
Yet I knew He was/is opposed to it. You know, knew. In fact, He would deal with it one day. I suspect I wasn’t the only one who knew it deep down.