Some of my favorite books to read to my young children were part of the “Where’s Waldo” book series. These books contain pages and pages of hundreds of characters…and the objective is to find Waldo who is hidden among them. Waldo is identified by a red and white striped shirt, red hat, and glasses. And he is not easy to find.
I suspect, with everything that is happening around us at this moment in history, you or a loved one may have asked the question, “Where’s Jesus?” When asked that question we often answer, “Jesus is in heaven with God…at God’s right hand no less.”
Of course, the answer the church has given to the question, “Where’s Jesus?” is not quite so simple. For Jesus promised prior to his ascension that he would be with us always, to the end of the age. We also remember that Jesus said that he would be with us whenever two or three gather in his name. And so each Sunday we proclaim Jesus is present among us. We celebrate that Jesus is in our hearts.
When I attended Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary I was taught that Jesus’ ascension was not his leaving us but rather a transformation of Christ’s presence among us. And, yes, I now teach that Christ is present among us through the power of the Holy Spirit. That quite wonderfully that means that Jesus can be present in more than one place at the same time.
Each Sunday, as the acolyte lights the altar candles we are reminded that Christ is among us…for the lit candles represent the light of Christ. And the large candle, the Pascal candle, when lit or not, at Easter, Ascension Day, baptisms and funerals reminds us of the resurrection hope into which we are baptized.
As people faith we state that we need not ask “Where’s Jesus?” For we already know the answer: Jesus is not hidden from us. Jesus is not hard to find for Jesus has already found us. Jesus is with you and I and all of creation….in difficult times and times of celebration…always.
Christ’s Peace, Pastor Steve