“What is the price of two sparrows–one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it…So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
It was a random shot inside a Hong Kong eatery. A few moments later Linda and I were seated next to him. His name was Feng, a computer programmer from Beijing who spoke good English. Feng ordered a sampling of dishes for us, assuring us we would be pleased (we were) and for a few minutes we enjoyed friendly conversation in what had been a room full of strangers.
You don’t have to travel far from home to find yourself in the nameless crowd. We pass by strangers every day. They give us no thought. We give no thought to them. I am always amazed at how people can stand in line at the grocery store, for example, within a foot or two of someone, and not have anything to say. This numbing indifference to others, in which we are all implicated, is part of living in a fearful world estranged from its Creator. It takes its toll on all of us.
A man once told me he hated to be in crowds. This was not because he suffered from agoraphobia but because he felt more alone in a crowd than anywhere else. In this he is not alone. Someone once observed that loneliness is the mass neurosis of the modern age. Not being noticed is a burden that many carry, even in the midst of the most intimate relationships.
To hear, as in the lesson for today, that God’s knowledge of me is intimate and total would be too much to bear were it not for Jesus. For the One who presses upon us the promise of His fearful nearness, is the same One who gave His life for us, who comes near in mercy, forgiveness and love in His Word and the sacraments. Jesus gave the promise in today’s lesson to His disciples as He prepared to send them into a hostile world. He wanted them to know that they would always be in the Father’s eye, on His mind and in His heart. He wants you to know that too.
“May the peace of God passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”