Face to Face
Have you ever noticed the human tendency to look away from someone who is speaking to us when their message is uncomfortable, embarrassing or challenging? We think of children who don’t want to look their parents “in the face” when they are admitting to something they’ve done wrong. We think of ourselves when we receive a compliment or even a word of love that we are hesitant to receive. There’s something about being “face to face” that captures the intimacy required for genuine communication, genuine communion.
And so with our relationship with God. We flee the face of God in many and various ways. This is the story of our fallen humanity, turning away from the loving gaze of God in the garden and choosing to go one’s own way. The story of salvation is one of God’s steadfast attempts to remain “in our face.” God reveals again and again, in various ways, his nearness.
The coming of Jesus represents one “final attempt” to help us see the face of God. But will humanity respond? Jesus’ words in Matthew’s gospel speak of his forerunner, John the Baptist as well as himself: “Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him but did to him whatever they pleased. So also will the son of Man suffer at their hands.” The face of God will be rejected once again.
Where are we running from the face of God today? Perhaps we judge the loving gaze of God for us as “too good to be true” and so we turn away. Perhaps that same loving gaze convicts us of some things that need changing and we hide. Our prayer today is that of the psalm: “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved.”
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