I’m a creature of habit. When I empty my pockets, I usually put them at the same place of my desk; this is true of almost everything I use regularly. The challenge is I’m also absent-minded, always have been. When I lose something, it’s usually because I put it in another place and forget that I’ve broken my pattern. This means when I find what I’m looking for is usually hiding in plain sight: sitting there in an unusual place where I can see it.
Hiding in plain sight is sometimes a good strategy in general. A lot of times we don’t recognize something out of the ordinary unless it’s pointed out to us. I grew up with an old saying about that: “If it were snake, it would bit me.” This is also a problem with proofreading. Many times misspelled words are staring directly at us we don’t notice them until they already appear in print somewhere other than our word processing program.
In today’s Gospel reading, we find Jesus speaking to his disciples at the Last Supper, giving them the farewell talk before they go out to the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus is telling them about the Kingdom, and the Sure Thing that awaits them, but they’re having a hard time getting it. For Jesus it’s so obvious: the disciples have been living in the kingdom in the presence of God the entire time they have journeyed together. They have seen the miracles, they have read the signs, they have heard the parables, and it hasn’t sunk in. Jesus goes a little farther reminding them what they’ve already experienced, and Philip is a little more thick headed; he says:”Well just show Him to us, and that will make everything certain.” Can you see Jesus rolling his eyes a little? It’s like that girl nobody wants in all those movies: the person they’re looking for has been with them the entire time and they don’t know it. All they have to do is remember what they’ve seen and they can put it together.
Today we’re living in a tough time: tough for our country, tough for our world and tough for our church. It’s enough to sink into despair, it’s enough to think that we will never have an end to trouble and never find a time when all will be at peace again and things will be put right again. It’s enough to say to God: “Look, you need to get involved here; it’s time for one of your big numbers. You remember, like parting the Red Sea, or making the Sun stand still, or opening the prison for Paul and his companions. Of at least, get me out of my jam: give me a winning lottery ticket or put me at the right slot machine at the right time. Let the Royals get into contention, or the Chiefs find the right player. Let me find the person who’s going to make me happy.”
What we can forget is that God is working in our lives right now; the one who can make us unconditionally happy is already in our lives and is already here. We forget that we have be blessed to live in the best place in the world and given people who will love us to the end. We forget that we have been led to places we should be and given things that we’ve needed.
Part of St. Patrick’s Breastplate:
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.
In every time we share the water of life and the Body and Blood of Christ, we are reminded of all that our God has given us in our lives, all that God is giving us now, and the dwelling place that Christ has prepared for us. We don’t have to go looking for the perfect person; we don’t have to make ourselves worthy for happily ever after. In Christ, we have the one who has blessed us, the one leads us out of our troubles and soothes our pain, and the one who makes all of our endings happy ones.
As the Body of Christ, we have a great challenge as we go about our regular business: helping people see Jesus, especially through what we say and do. Are we helping hide Jesus in plain sight?