Monday, January 12, 2009

Come and Be Seen

This afternoon we had our usual second-Monday-of-the-Month "large staff meeting." A police officer was here to talk with us about safety issues. We want people to feel welcome at our church--we also have a responsibility to keep things safe. One of the best things we can do is to meet and greet people! Generally speaking, someone with "nefarious intent" will leave if people are too friendly! (Wal-mart has discovered the same thing. Their greeters have turned out to be great security!)

Will you let yourself be seen for who you really are? Or will you hide your real self? Really, there's no point in that. All the scriptures for this coming Sunday make this clear.
  • In First Samuel 3, the Lord speaks to a priest's young apprentice, Samuel, about the punishment that will fall on Eli's family because of how they have taken advantage of their religious position. Instead of "closing his eyes" and stopping his ears to the truth, Eli wisely says "What was it that he told you? Do not hide it from me." Eli wants to know the truth. He knows he is seen by God.
  • Psalm 139 is a great song about how God sees and knows everything. "O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away."
  • Nothing can be hidden from God, and it's good when we know that. The section of First Corinthians 6 we'll be reading Sunday speaks against sexual relations outside of marriage. We may want to hide those things, but nothing we do in obedience or disobedience to the commandments is unknown to God.
  • In our gospel (John 1:43-51), Jesus *sees* an honest man named Nathaniel and commends him even though his opinions are quite negative. God knows all of our thoughts, feelings, opinions, doubts and questions and still loves us. It's best, then, to bring them out in an honest way. Otherwise, like in any human relationship, hidden issues begin to poison our side of a healthy relationship with the Lord.
It's good to come to church so we can see and be seen for who we really are. Because of what Jesus has done for sinners on the cross, we know God is full of love and forgiveness. Like Eli, and Nathaniel, we can dare to be honest too.
Added Tuesday afternoon: See Tim Robbins comment on another post by clicking here -- it fits with this "being seen" stuff
Added Sunday: You can hear the 18 minute sermon preached on Jan. 18 (in mp3 format) by clicking this link: "Come and Be Seen" Sermon

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