Devotional Reading: I John4: 7-21
Text; No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and God’s love is perfected in us. (v. 12)
I don’t read a lot of poetry but today’s devotional reading drew me to two poems in Gordon and Gladis DePree’s book of poetry, Faces of God (Westminster Press, c. 1974).
Recognizing the stranger/ As a face of God/ Takes so much of the suspicion and hostility/ Out of Life./ Perhaps I have never met you before…/But if I look at you with an open face,/ Accepting you as a valid person,/ With no need to judge/ Whether you conform to my standards or not,/ Will you really seem to be a stranger?/ Or will we have the vague feeling/ That we must have met somewhere before?’
Somehow viewing the stranger as a face of God/ Changes the other as well as me./ For if I have seen God in the other,/ How can he see less in himself?
When I think of myself/ And you/ As faces of God,/ Praying seems different …/ Should I still close my eyes/ And pray to somewhere,/ Or should we open our eyes/ And look at each other,/ Aware of our mutual life/ And the source of life beyond us both?
What would happen if we prayed about a problem,/ Looking at each other?/ If we prayed about a worry,/ Looking at each other?/ If we prayed about an anger,/ Looking at each other?
It is not as though we pray to each other,/ But how could I look into your face,/ A face of God,/ And be a hypocrite?
When the Old Testament patriarch, Jacob, decided that he had to return home and face the brother he wronged, he was afraid. But for once in his life he decided to trust the God’s Providential Care. He had a fitful night’s sleep, wrestling with a Stranger on the banks if the Jabok River.
The next day, when he met his brother Esau he was surprised to be met not with a sword but with unconditional love. Looking into Esau’s face he said, “To see your face is like seeing the Face of God.” (Genesis 33:10)
Our challenge today, and every day, is to see the face of God in the other for each one of us have been created in the Divine Image. When we learn to love the other, we learn what God’s love for us really is.
Lord, open my eyes that I may see Your reflection in everyone that I meet, even in the faces of those I wish to avoid. Amen.