Meditations

                

Time with Pastor Tina

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Hide and Seek is a game played by people of every generation.  It can be played in the daylight or in the dark of night.  It can be played inside or outside by children and adults alike.  I think we start learning how to play the game Hide and Seek as infants with the precursor to it being Peek-A-Boo.   Such games filled our lives with great joy most of the time.  Playing with my brothers however wasn’t always joyful.  There were times when they just quit and didn’t even try to find me.  I’d wait and wait and wait and when it finally dawned on my what had happened I would cry and go running to my mom.

Games stop being fun when someone plays unfairly.  Breaking the rules, cheating or being downright mean-spirited ruins things for everyone.  When names like “Cheater” and “Meanie” or worse start being spewed by one player toward another not only is it no longer fun, it can become hurtful.  I recall more than one occasion when my brothers got into a wrestling match over it. 

The religious leaders of the temple told Jesus, “The only father we have is God himself.” But Jesus thought differently and said, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me” (John 8.42). That did it. The tide was turning. Tempers began to flare.  The Pharisees started calling Jesus names like “Samaritan and demon-possessed” (John 8:48).  “They picked up stones to stone him . . .” (John 8:59). At this point no one was having playing around.  At this point things could have ended badly for Jesus, “but it wasn’t yet his time.”  Then the text tells us, “. . . but, Jesus hid himself.”  They couldn’t see him. So, he got away safely.  This time.

How often do we try to hide from Jesus?  We think Jesus can’t see what we are doing if we do it after dark.  But we are only fooling ourselves when we think this way.  God is all-seeing and all-knowing.  The psalmist writes:

Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (
Psalm 139:7-12).

Maybe you feel Jesus hides himself from you.  You know what I mean.  Those times when things aren’t going the way you want them to, when life is hard and seems to get harder still.  You feel that you are in the wilderness of life alone.  Yet the words of scripture remind us of God’s promise, Do not be afraid or terrified, . . . for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).  God keeps that promise.  Especially when we are at our most vulnerable and our heart is laid bare.

During Lent, we hear of the temptations Jesus faced while in the wilderness.  We hear the name calling after he is arrested and beaten for our sins.  We see him agonizing on the cross until his death.  We see that those who loved him came and took his body to give it a proper burial.  Jesus wasn’t hiding in the tomb.   He died.  God, in the form of Jesus, died on that cross.  Yet, that wasn’t the end.  On the third day, Jesus rises from the dead and experiences the new life that Easter brings. 

We don’t journey through Lent alone.  Jesus is with us every step of the way.  The promise of Easter is coming.  It will be here before we know it.  Remember however that we are Easter people.  We trust that, “when we are baptized into a death like his we are promised that we too will rise in a resurrection like his.”  When it comes, let all God’s people say, Amen and Alleluia!  Your Sister in Service to God,

         Pastor Tina

 

 

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