Thursday, June 11, 2009

Communion Meditation – The Secret Stash

Two years ago, our family nearly moved to Kansas City. My wife and I spent the better part of three days scoping out houses all over town. It was a painful process in many ways, as we really didn’t want to leave the house that we already owned in Colorado. Fortunately, we ended up staying put and we haven’t regretted it for a single moment.

I was intrigued as we went through the house-hunting process. We lined up as many as ten homes in a single day and our realtor navigated us through them as efficiently as possible. We saw homes of various ages, and with many different styles and layouts. Some homes were dismissed by us immediately, for one reason or another. A few homes made the short list, and we visited a couple of them more than once.

But what really struck me was the overall sense of neatness and order in nearly every house that we entered. I often spend time in other people’s houses that are not for sale, and it seems to me that the average American does not live the way these show homes would have me believe. Rooms were devoid of toys or papers, beds were neatly made there were no clothes lying around in children’s rooms, and every home seemed as if it were just recently built and furnished. I found out later – as we went to put our own home up for sale – that this practice is called staging. Some people even rent special furniture to put in the home for sale to make it appear more opulent.

One house caught our eye. Here is one picture of the inside. This is a sitting room in the house that we nearly bought. You will note that there are several flat surfaces in the picture, but for the most part, there is very little to be seen on top of them. They hold a single plant, a couple of carefully angled magazines, and absolutely nothing on the fireplace mantle. There are no Legos on the couch cushions! And the blanket that is draped on the chair in the center of the picture looked almost like art the way it had been placed.

At right is a view of the kitchen. If you look carefully, you will see that there is no food visible anywhere – there wasn’t even a hint of crumbs to be found anywhere. The sink was empty and clean, and the gas stove burners looked like they were brand new. Finally, the little desk nook at the right was completely devoid of any paper at all – it only held a candle and a knick-knack or two. It made me wonder if they have mail service in Kansas City!

We continued exploring the house, with every room looking perfect. I was ready to move in right away! In the basement we found a room that had three built-in desks – seemingly made for our three homeschoolers to set up shop. Things were looking very, very nice.

And then, we opened the final door in the basement, and saw this.

It was a far cry from what we had observed in the rest of the house, but not totally unexpected. These people had kids and pets, and it only made sense that we would eventually find an area that testified to that fact. While the rest of the house had been “staged”, we eventually found “the secret stash” that gave witness to the fact that somewhere, there had to be an “overflow of junk”.

Sin is like that. We may spend a great deal of time convincing others that we have our life in order – we may even have to spend time convincing ourselves of it! But for many of us, there is a secret room where we keep our mess hidden from prying eyes. We work hard to keep it locked up and out of view, but sometimes we simply can’t hide it. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live a life that has no secrets and where everything is open and known by others? Be assured – everything is open before God. Psalm 90:8 says, “You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence.” And likewise, Jeremiah 23:24 tells us of God’s all-knowing qualities – ‘“Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?” declares the Lord.’

Our weekly time of communion is a time to reflect on the sacrifice that Christ made for us. And while nothing we can do will ever pay for our sins, we can glory in the fact that Christ’s sacrifice took the burden of our sin. Are we not sometimes motivated to make his burden lighter? Confessing our secret sin is one way to make our lives more pure – not to make them appear “staged”. Finally, 2 Corinthians 4:2 reminds us that “…we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

No comments: