Who was watching you today? Maybe you felt your boss was watching you, checking up on whether you were doing a good job. Maybe your teacher was watching you. Maybe the eyes of your little son or daughter were on you. Maybe your friends were watching you. Being human, being people who relate to people, we are almost always aware of the gaze of someone upon us. That gaze can shape our actions, depending on whether we feel that gaze is loving or hateful, supportive or fault-finding.
I remember a friend saying to me once, “I know my husband is watching me.” The thing is, her husband had died three years earlier. Yet she still felt his presence (in a good way!), supporting and encouraging her. Maybe that’s what the writer of Hebrews is getting at, when he writes, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…”
This Sunday is Memorial Sunday, where we remember the people who have died this past year, the people we mourn. It’s also a time to reflect on anyone we love who has died, and the influence of their life on us. Do you ever feel that someone who has died is watching you, or encouraging you?
It’s interesting to see how often the idea of “being watched” by someone supernatural, comes up in movies, but in a negative way. I can’t begin to count the movie ads I’ve seen where aliens, or the undead, or the avenging spirits of the underworld, are watching unsuspecting people, ready to pounce at any moment!
As opposed to this uneasy feeling of being watched, Christians feel comforted by the deep certainty of the watchful, loving gaze of God. There is nowhere we can go that is outside God’s vision. While death obscures people from our view, they are fully embraced by God’s loving gaze. This Sunday we’ll be thinking about that in our worship time together. Hope to see you there!