I’m sitting with these words, Isaiah 55:1-9, this week. They depict God engaging his people in role play (how else would you describe buying things without money? my daughter’s school includes an area set up with role play shops to help the pupils practice every-day conversation in various languages) and hide-and-seek.
This is the behaviour of a good father with a young child.
In the game of hide-and-seek, we hide ourselves from the other in order that the child might experience the delight of finding the parent – and the parent experience the delight of being found. It is a playful behaviour that strengthens the bonds between us: that says, you belong to me and I belong to you.
In the game of role play, we help children learn life skills, and not only skills but values. The particular game that Isaiah records for us is concerned with justice. It is an invitation to internalise a way of being in the world that will find externalised expression in acts and structures of justice – which is our splendour.
In playing hide-and-seek we discover that we are made to know and be known by God, to share in his love.
In role play we discover that we are made to represent God’s life-affirming reign of justice and mercy – and what that reign looks like.
Being and doing. Covenant and kingdom. Hand-in-hand.
As a friend of mine once put it, Life Is Too Important To Be Taken Seriously. You will end up lamenting the life you don’t have rather than living the life you have been given to the full.
Where is God hiding from you today? (And have you given up looking?)