Easter, a holiday and time associated with the celebration of new life and new beginnings. Today is a source of joy for many, but not for all. While there is much to celebrate in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who rose from the dead and conquered death, I cannot help but think of those who are not celebrating such triumph either in their lives or in His. Though I have joined others in praising the great and holy name of our Lord this morning, I will now spend time pleading to Him and to you for those who have not. Those who believe Easter is as empty a holiday as the grave from which Jesus rose. Those who find Easter a maddening reminder of the new life and new beginning that they long for, but believe most assuredly they themselves will never see. Those who are themselves unseen.
“This is who I am. I am, unseen, unheard, unwanted. That is what I am, if… even I am anything.”
Christina Matanick; ReMoved
Unseen. Unheard. Unwanted. Let that sink in just for a few moments. Think about the most basic elements of our human nature, all the way back to our Day One here on earth. All of us entered this world desiring to be seen, heard, and wanted. Amongst all the miracles and mysteries of new life that we can’t understand, we can clearly tell that babies have needs. If they did not all those precious smiles, relentless cries, and sleepy snuggles would indeed be absent from our lives as much as theirs. From day one, we all need to be seen, heard and wanted. It is in the basics of our being so to speak. But what happens when those things are absent from our lives? On such a blessed day as today this is the question I seek to answer.
I am hard pressed to name almost any whom even I know that at one time did not feel at least one of these feelings of “un-ness”. Look at our schools, flooded with violence in response to children who by their own blood and the blood of others are screaming “See ME! Hear ME! Want me…”. Never justifying any action of hatred or endorsing the acquittal of the rightly accused, still we must ask this one question, why? Again I see it in my own city of St. Louis, Missouri. A few years ago or rather even just a few months ago the whole city sat on edge as aggression raged between blacks and whites over the question of “Is my life worth anything to you?”. This unrest though not seen on every channel of the nightly news or in the comments of my Facebook feed any longer still rage on among the hearts of every individual I know. Such unrest that leads even myself at times to murder another in my own heart with thoughts and feelings of hatred and outrage. I see it even more clearly still, in the actions and thoughts of the children who come into my home. Children who have made their way into my home by means of the foster system. A system set up because the unbearable truth of the matter is that someone who brought them into this world through an action of love had not the time or love left to show them that they are worthy of being seen, heard and wanted. More shocking and hurtful than any other example yet is this reality; even amongst the body of Christ, His Church, we prefer to isolate and mock those who do not think like we do, feel as we do or agree with all that we do. We who claim to be ourselves changed by the mercy of a God who in His grace gave us life where death was deserved are far more drawn to hate than to love. Yes, even the church is capable of causing others to believe they are unseen, unheard and unwanted. A truth for us all, though undoubtedly more so for some than others, is this: At one time or another we are all unseen, unheard, unwanted.
So amongst a world that leaves all of us broken yearning for these basic human desires, what hope is there? Is hope even a reasonable thing to desire any more? Yes and yes. Despite the numbness that many of us feel in absence of these basic human needs, your soul will never stop thirsting to be seen, heard and wanted. Though I cannot promise you the love of everyone to meet these needs, I can promise you the unceasing and unalienable love of One.
God sees, He hears, and He wants you. He also knows what it is to be unseen, unheard and unwanted. God made you and I with these innate desires because the truth of the matter is that He is the epitome of these desires. In each of us, He placed a desire to feel seen, heard and wanted because His design was that in Him each of us would find these desires met. Then in an even more astounding act He created other human beings like us so that these desires would be met and felt even more intimately. Then in one, tragic moment that changed. We decided God was unworthy of being seen, heard or wanted. Each of us are guilty of this. From the beginning of our lives we have done this not only with Him but even with our parents, our brothers and sisters and our friends. At one point we have all heard someone plea to us to see, hear, or want them and instead of choosing to value them, we choose to value ourselves more. We take a toy that is not ours, we touch a stove that we were told not to touch, we tell a lie so that the blame would be upon another, we betray trust for gain of money or status, we forget the advice of others so that we can continue to pursue our goals or dreams. Whatever wrong we have done to another, rest assured we have done it to God. And yet, God is unlike any other. Though we have forgotten Him, hated Him openly or chosen to deny Him existence in our reality, He has loved us deeply and longingly. So much so that He gave His Son. A Son who saw God perfectly in all that He is, heard His every Word and listened to Him and wanted Him above all else. God willingly broke His perfect relationship with His Son so that you and I might gain that perfect relationship with Him. The Son came in flesh, lived in a way that displayed a divine love for God and others, and then died though no punishment of death was His to bear. He died so that all the disdain and hatred you and I have ever shown against God and one another might in Him be forgiven, and counted as paid. God had no need for our love and neither did His Son. Their relationship was perfect and in each other they had everything. Yet, God forsook everything, everything that you and I desire so desperately. He did this so that in Him we might have these desires met again. God loves you, whether you know it or want to believe it. And He loves His Son as well, raising Him three days after being put to death for each of our sins so that death would not reign either over the Son or us any longer. But now, life in Him is ours to live. In Him we are always seen, heard, and wanted.
Easter, a holiday and time associated with the celebration of new life and new beginnings. And though joy is not felt by all today, it is yours to behold if you but ask Him in whose hands it rests. God is the Father to the Fatherless, the Husband to the widow, the Avenger to the oppressed and the Hope to the hopeless. In Him and Him alone will you find the desires of your soul satisfied. Though you may remain unseen, unheard and unwanted by others you will never feel so, for you see that In Him you are none of these things at all. There is hope for new beginnings and assurance for new life.
“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.”