How many of you remember the “Where’s Waldo” books? They came out at just the right time for my children growing up…especially the boys. I would give Walsh and Tommy a book for their Christmas time birthdays and it would keep them occupied for hours searching for Waldo.
As time went by the books and pages shrunk and the search grew harder, the U.K. went to “Where’s Wally?” and several spin-offs emerged also…even, to the point, of having yours personalized while family and friends looked for you.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had a game puzzle or book called “Where’s Jesus” and we got to pore through the Holy Land searching for him on page after page. Come to think about it…we do have such an experience.
I love this old story (I found in Bits & Pieces) dating back the year of the millennium. It was simply called “The Messiah is Among You.”
“A monastery fell upon hard times. Where it once was filled with monks and music of God’s praises; it now only housed a handful of old monks shuffling through the cloisters and praying quietly with heavy hearts.
An old rabbi built a little hut near the monastery where he would go to pray. The monks welcomed him and considered themselves blessed by his presence.
One day the abbot of the monastery visited the rabbi and poured our his heart to him. The rabbi listened and together they prayed. Then the rabbi spoke:
“You and your brothers are serving God with a heavy heart yet you should be joyous…for The Messiah is among you…he lives with you now.” He then made the abbot promise to tell this only one time to the other monks and never repeat it again.
With great excitement the abbot shared the good news with the other monks….exclaiming, “One of us is the Messiah.”
The monks were startled….what could this mean…Was it Brother John or Thomas…was it me?”
Time passed but this secret had a profound effect on the monastery. The monks began to treat each other with a special reverence. There was a gentle, wholehearted, human quality about them that was immediately noticed.
Visitors found themselves moved by the life of joy and charity seen within the walls of the monastery. The number of people who came to see the enlightened monks grew stronger year after year. Joyous prayer and song rang out and echoed through its walls.
No one ever saw the old rabbi again…he never returned but they always felt his presence.
Wouldn’t our lives change drastically if we heard the Messiah lived in Summerville or anywhere else for that matter? Wouldn’t we all be looking for Jesus like “Searching for Waldo?” We would be on our best behavior not knowing if someone we bumped into might actually be the Messiah? Yes, the rabbi had spoken the truth. Christ in God does live among us…in fact so close to us we can hold His hand whenever we wish.
Today, on 11/11/11, the official date of Veterans Day...don’t we always feel sorrow at the gravestones and markers of men and women who never returned from a war? In our hearts don’t we still look for them among crowds, on buses, in cars or in grocery stores…thinking we see someone who looks just like our loved one for a split second?
Yet, some days we do see our loved one through the actions of a friend or stranger helping us or guiding us. We are all part of the spirit of God and as such we need to look deeper into each other on a daily basis. For God, indeed, does live among us.
Ben concludes his Vietnam story with these comments:
“I’m often asked, “So where is God in all of this?” My answer is the same… that God is where He has always been-right beside you. Should He be busy, He has lots of angels ready to do His bidding. I’ve bumped into a few of them along life’s journey. I also ran into a few of them in Vietnam.”
“I don’t see PTSD as some sort of disease. Rather, in my case, fighting PTSD has opened doors and avenues of personal development that would never have happened otherwise. It may seem like a big price to pay but I know that I’m better as a person because of what I have had to learn about myself and the mysterious way God works. Amen.”
So until tomorrow…”Amen.”
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh