St. Ephrem uses the word “symbol” in its ancient meaning – something which makes present that which it represents. God, he says, is everywhere filling all things, yet remains the “Hidden One” who paradoxically is “shining out.”
God’s presence is not always obvious, it has been so ever since the tragic events in the Garden of Eden. Having eaten the forbidden fruit Adam and Eve took it upon themselves to hide from God (See Genesis 3). Creator and creature have had a tortuous and troubled relationship ever since.
Even when the Creator became a human, strained relations eschewed. Those who should have known better, the religious leaders in Jewish society – the Pharisees, Sadducees, High Priest, and Temple Priests – all rejected him, even though they had seen the sick healed, the blind see, and captives released (Matthew 16:1-12; Matthew 22:15-33; John 11:45-53)
Nothing has changed much. Jesus still remains unnoticed and rejected by the majority in Australia. Although the reality of the Creator is plain enough for all to see in creation itself (Romans 1:19-20) God remains hidden from view because people refuse to notice.Even so, God has not abandoned his world. Instead, God became a man and entered into human existence. But he came not as we might have expected – a powerful king or a military conqueror – but as a carpenter turned itinerant rabbi who ultimately was tortured and executed. We didn’t expect God’s son to be naked, condemned and dying as a criminal on a cross.
Neither did his disciples. Even after the resurrection, though they saw him face-to-face, some disciples still doubted (Matthew 28:16-17). As is often the case, it is hard to see the obvious even when it is staring you in the face.
Every year, Easter Sunday is the day we celebrate the resurrection. God raised Jesus to life and his Spirit has been sent into the world to be at work in the world.
Each day he gently walks through the garden of our lives, and each day he quietly whispers our name.
The question is, will you notice?
Stephen L Baxter