41 As he came near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. - Luke 19:41-42
Many years ago, a German theologian noted a trend where people did not need what he called the “God Hypothesis” to explain things or to meet their needs. Instead of looking to God, they found their strength, boundaries, and understanding for life elsewhere.
There are a number of benefits to living this way. If we live as if God doesn’t matter, then we don’t have to abide by any expectations God might have upon us. We are free to pursue what we want, how we want, and without worry about any outside definition of what we should want. Theoretically, we don’t have to feel guilty (at least not for ways we damage relationship with God… guilt from our relationships with other people is a bit harder to shake). And it is a heck of a lot easier to communicate with other people who don’t expect God to be part of things. On the surface it sounds very freeing.
At the beginning of Holy Week, Jesus points out the downside to this “freedom.” People who don’t see Jesus miss the peace that Jesus brings.
I do not write this so that we can feel morally superior to an atheistic strawman (or even someone who is very real that you may know). I write this because all too often, we who believe in Jesus live practically as if God doesn’t matter. We do not look for God in our work. We do not look for Jesus in our entertainment. We do not expect the Holy Spirit to have any real practical influence on our daily lives. We certainly do not expect to find Jesus on a donkey riding into town. Is it possible that we also miss the things that make for peace?
So, what do we do? Let us be people who look for Jesus. Let us be people who begin to ask God to open our eyes to recognize where God is present in our work, in our entertainment, in our relationships, and in our daily lives. Let us be people who begin to take note and recognize and experience the ways Jesus brings peace.
Jesus, we confess the ways we get caught up in things and find ourselves in a place where you are “hidden from our eyes.” We desire to be people who know your peace. Will you help us to see this day the places you are with us? Help us to begin to recognize your presence, your guidance, and your peace. We pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.