Awake to Christ

I sat in the church on Sunday afternoon listening to the harpist practice for her recital later that day. As I listened, I took a visual tour of the stained glass windows in the nave. We are blessed to worship in one of the most beautiful spaces I've known, and I'm sure many of you feel the same way.

As I was looking at those windows that tell the story of Christ's life from the Annunciation to the Crucifixion and his Ascension, I wondered, “Which one is my favorite?” I think that probably depends on my mood at the time. So then I asked myself, “Which one speaks to me now?”

As I looked around the nave and all of the windows, and even up into the chancel and sanctuary, I kept coming back to Jesus encountering Nathanael under the fig tree. This episode can be found in John 1:48. What John tells us is that Jesus called Philip and Philip then told Nathanael about Jesus. There's an encounter and Jesus eventually says, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Using artistic license, our window appears to depict Nathanael asleep under that tree, not noticing the presence of Christ right next to him.

How often, I thought, are we like Nathanael in that window – asleep to the presence of Christ right next to us?

Maybe we no longer take time to notice the holy presence of the Lord in our midst because we see it so often. Maybe we are asleep to the presence of Christ in the form of those people who use parts of our building for shelter. Maybe we are asleep to the presence of Christ in our lives because other things always seem to take precedence. Maybe we are asleep to the still, small voice of God because we would rather see or hear something big and dramatic. The list can go on.

In his book, The Problem of Pain, CS Lewis wrote, “They wanted some corner in the universe of which they could say to God, 'this is our business, not yours.' But there is no such corner.”

There is no such corner where God is not present. There is no such corner that Jesus does not touch. Maybe what it takes for us to be awakened to that is to spend some time in peaceful quiet with our eyes and ears wide open so that we are awake to the presence of Christ right next to us.


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