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Cross Symbol

I can't hide from you!

A Commentary by Constance Vanides

"O LORD, You have searched me and known me."
(Psalm 139:1)

"Baby of the family." That's what I was called. Oh, how I hated being called "baby", even though I was the youngest of four daughters.

As a child, looking through the family album at the old pictures, I wanted to know who everyone was. Most of the people made no impression on me. As we moved forward into more recent photos, I could see my three older sisters, first as babies, then growing up. But where was I? There were my mother and father and sisters without me!

They laughed at my fear and tears when I demanded to know where I was! "You weren't born yet!" was no explanation to me. I had to be somewhere! Of course I know now. I was in God's planning stage! How sad that no one pointed out to me the words of David, "Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them." (Psalm 139:16)

There were other fears I had. This one was never expressed to anyone. I was taken to church every Sunday. The Greek Orthodox Church with its services in the Greek language held little understanding for me. I would gaze at the various colorful icons in stained glass, mosaics and tempera paint, depicting Christian scenes of Jesus, the virgin Mary and saints I knew nothing about.

Holding my attention, at the very front of the church, was the screen of icon panels. The screen served as a divider between the congregation and the altar, the "Holy Place" where only men and tonsured altar boys are allowed entrance to serve God.

There at the very top, right in the middle, one image held my attention. It was a bigger-than-life painted Eye! Flanked on either side of the Eye were scenes depicting the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus.

But it was the Eye which continually met my gaze! "That's God's All-Seeing Eye," I was told. To me, as a child, it was scary to think God was keeping an eternal eye out to see what I was doing--all the time!

What I did not understand until many years later was that this symbolism is meant to show God's great love and care for mankind, always watching out for our best interests, seeking those who would give of themselves to know Him, in a mutual love relationship.

He knows all about us, He's watching over us with loving care and, yes, He wants us as His own!

I set My eye upon you
even before you were born.
Before your unformed substance
came together in your mother's womb,
I was able to see you.
For you were created first
in My mind before you
became a reality on earth.
How then can you doubt
My very presence continues with you?
I was with you when you turned away
and knew me not.
I was with you gently coaxing,
always loving you.
I have never changed.
I am keeping My eye on you.
I am still here.

Constance Vanides
24 September 2002

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