If you’re a child playing “hide and seek” the three words “I see you” mean that you lose. The seeker has found you. Your hiding place has been uncovered and you have to come out of hiding and wait for everyone else to be found. “I see you” are not welcome words when playing hide and seek.
Later in life—when things become difficult, life is hard, and you begin to believe that no one cares—“I see you” rings in the soul as blessing and hope. Those three words become the life preserver tossed to you, the flashlight that begins to shine on a way out of the cave, the sip of water that quenches the thirst in your dry heart. “I see you” translates into other three word phrases such as “I love you” and “you aren’t alone.”
This Sunday, we will open two passages of scripture that remind us of the blessing of “I see you.” In Genesis 21:8-21, Sarah sees Hagar and Ishmael and has them banished. She sees them as threat. But in the wilderness, God sees Hagar and Ishmael and brings hope, healing and promise. I see you, God says—and the story turns.
In the gospel (Matthew 10:24-39), Jesus reminds the disciples of the threat that comes with following him and living lives of faithful discipleship. Yet, he also reminds them and us that God sees us, even as God sees a sparrow that falls, and surrounds us with hope and promise. It is a reminder so believable that we can and will sing “His eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches me.”
We all find ourselves at some point in that dark space where we feel alone and lost, uncared for and frightened. What good news to hear God say “I see you.” Thanks be to God, we can’t hide from the One who sees in the dark.
I look forward to saying “I see you” to you on Sunday as we gather for worship. We will sit with these stories and find a good word for our lives. And we will commission Stephen Leaders for the important work of seeing the hurt in our community and bringing the word of grace to those who sit alone and feel unseen.
Grace and peace.