Words hit you differently at different times. Encouragement is better when you're down, sympathy better after a loss, and congratulatory comments better after you've accomplished something. Verses of poems or sections of scripture are no exception.
For many of the this week's mornings, I have read the same passage in the book of Mark (Mark 4:21-25, called 'A Lamp on a Stand'). Though quite short, three things have blown me away the more I hear about them. The first was, basically: that things that are hidden are made to be found. The second: 'what is concealed is meant to be brought into the light'. The third, 'even what they have will be taken away'.
'Things are meant to be found' is a beautifully stated encouragement to look to the world around us and find what is here to be found. It always impresses me that people can do new things with music, even though the same instruments have been around with the same basic chords for so long. Similarly, a common estimate among scientists is that we have discovered less than half the species on earth; some estimates are that 86% of all life is still unknown to humans. Or take a book, especially a long one, particularly a good one; in it is a whole world. Cosmologists estimate that 90% of matter is 'dark', meaning that everything we see and know the properties of makes up less than a quarter of what is. Amazing.
New discoveries happen every day. Each day we find more, and the passage suggests that this is intentional. It is all meant to be found and discovered. In Bill Bryson's 'A History of Nearly Everything', the narrative is woven so that as humans think they've hit the climax of discovery, something new, bigger, better, revolutionary is around the corner.
Compare anyone under the age of 25 and the science they're learning as opposed to what their parents and grand parents learned. It's crazy. But more than crazy, it's inspiring, because it takes a broad, expansive view of all that is out there. Rather than see the earth as a planet with limited resources, bad people, and a tendency toward self-distruction, the passage suggests mystery, interaction, and intregue. (The solutions to some of the problems that plague us would be included in things meant to be discovered.)
Taken as an inspiration, the individual question would perhaps be: what can you discover?
The second phrase, and the one that's had the biggest impact on me is 'what is concealed is meant to be brought into the light'. This goes against so much of what the world would like us to think. We mess up, do something wrong, are wronged - or some such thing - it often goes that the one wronged is left to deal with ramifications. So you get hurt, screwed over, or mistreated, and then you're further plagued to deal with those feelings of hurt and wrongness. You get stolen from, and you're left to deal with that loss. In the realm of sexual misconduct, the victim is left off worse than the one who did the wrong.
I've heard people in positions of power say - more than once - if you have anything negative to say, tell me directly; spread the positive to everyone at large. Each time I hear that, I think it's so stupid. Like: okay. I'll tell all of the good things, write those down, go on record for them, and then gloss over the bad; so that now the record only states the good, and I'm contradicting myself if I say the negative thing. Not cool. Those negatives need to be brought into the light.
The biggest reason this one got me is because recently I've personally seen a lot of people at the top remain stable, get more and more influence while the people they're 'serving' have less control, less power, less influence, and are left to deal with their gross misconduct. This is unacceptable.
The natural way human power structures seem to go is that there's a really small percentage at the top that has everything. They make the rules and decisions, and a whole group below them suffers the consequences. The missing element with this is that the ones at the bottom must accept the consequences, because they lack the power and influence to do anything about it. And that isn't right. So when these decisions are made or things happen to them, it's important to bring that all to the light.
The final phrase, about 'even that will be taken away' has always seemed contradictory to me. Like an assholeish thing said by JC to the least of these. Like: if you're poor, you'll be poorer. Doesn't seem too fair. But I'd also only seen this as a phyiscal connection. Like if you don't have possessions, you'lll get less. Typically less money. But then I thought about the mental state.
So many people that don't have power grasp the small scope they can influence. A menial laborer beats his wife and kids. A divorced mother gives hell to her only child. A broken teacher forces his class to do the stupidest things the stupidest ways for the rules. A coach makes her team to this. A boss...It could keep going, but the basic point is that many of us have power at some point. This can be so simple as when you buy something and you listen to that asinine phrase 'the customer is always right', so since you're 'right', you have the power for that moment. And then you can abuse it.
When I think of people that seem broken, not doing well, and then they get worse and worse, it's typically in this type of a fashion. Things ain't good, and they get worse; this and that keeps happening, but instead of admitting it, and changing, they grasp the straws. Like the center is there and the layers get pealed and pealed back, but the person still won't let go and admit they're wrong.
But oddly: there's such a freedom when you admit that you're wrong.
That you can't.
That you're having a hard time.
When we give up this control, admitting that things have been better, could be better, or are, in fact, better, we're discovering what's next. We're seeing this new thing, with these new eyes. We're finding what is out there, hidden, waiting to be discovered. In doing this, we're also admitting how little we have, and in so doing, will only get more. And in getting more and telling our story or doing our thing, we're bringing this all to the light.