By Robert Halsey Pine
“Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before him no creature is hidden, but all are naked and laid bare to the eyes of the one to whom we must render an account.” (Hebrews 4:1-13 NRSV).
There have been times in my life when I thought that I was invisible. I was so detached from God and focused on the natural world that I thought that there was a zone that I could operate in out of God’s sight. I found out the hard way that my ignoring God doesn’t mean that He is unaware of my thoughts and intentions. I was like the emperor that paraded in his “new clothes.” I was convinced that I was dressed, but I was naked.
When we think that we are invisible, we are playing God. He is the invisible one, not us. His word is penetrating. He is everywhere at once. He is omnipotent. He knows everything about us. We are His creations. He knows us and we are accountable to Him. We continue to reenact the Adam and Eve story of the eating of the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This amounts to our disobedience of God while He is watching us. We are like the child who intentionally tests his or her parents right in their sight.
God’s word is truly “living and active.” John begins his Gospel (1:1-3 NRSV) with, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.” We can ignore the Word of God, but we cannot escape it. It is a matter of how long we can ignore it. It is a game that we cannot win. God had the first word and He will have the last word with us. We are but fools if we think that we are in control. We will have our day of accounting for our lives to Him.
The following “Confession of Sin” from The 1979 Book of Common Prayer helps us recognize our nakedness: Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent. For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.