A friend of mine and her little girl joined me today at an Ash Wednesday service at a local Lutheran church. From the moment the little girl walked in, she was full of questions – questions about the cross and our foreheads and was I going to get one (a cross, that is, not a forehead!)
As we entered the sactuary she looked around intently and I thought she was taking in the ornate surrounding. Afterall the stained glass windows explode with color and beauty, the altar is sparsely but elegantly adorned and in the back balcony the pipes from the organ sparkle as polished silver. The mood in the room was solemn and silence pervaded the air.
Then this little onlooker, leaned over to her mom and in a loud whisper said, “Where’s Jesus?”
Her eyes scanned the room and saw the elements of the eucharist on the front altar covered with a white cloth. This sweet, perceptive imp asked once again, “Is Jesus hiding?”
As the ministers walked out of the door to the left of the platform, all of a sudden this little one exclaimed, “Oh!! There’s Jesus!”
We kept trying to explain to her the best we could about how she may not really SEE Jesus there – in bodily form. She was not to be deterred. All through the service she kept looking and asking, and trying to figure out where Jesus was. Even after the whole congregation had left and a guy came out with a dust buster to vacuum something up, she still kept asking, “Is that Jesus?”
I share all this because while it was quite humorous, God used her little questions to convict me of how often I am not on the lookout for Him. I often walk into places (even church) and don’t expect to see Him – so I don’t look and I don’t ask. But today I realized that I wanted to. I wanted my heart to be like that of a child who walks in expecting to see Jesus. I want to keep asking everyone around about His whereabouts. I don’t want to get sidetracked with other endenvours so much that I forget to try to find Jesus in the midst of whatever I am doing.
Now, I don’t know if she ever really saw Jesus today…and truthfully I don’t know if I will see Him everyday. But I want to always come with the expectation that He might just be there, AND if I look carefully I just might see Him!!
May our hearts be His this Lenten season.
(By the way, I am reminded of the book Tales of the Kingdom and the story of “Sighting Day”. It is quite a similar story! If you have kids and don’t have the book yet, I highly recommend you pick it up. If you don’t have kids yet, I still highly recommend the book.)