Lenten Devotional – THURS, Mar 18: SEE (revisited)

Who has seen Godself? How do we see God? Do we see Godself in human form, as described here, or as something else?

In scripture, few people could come directly into the presence of Godself. The great prophet Moses did so. Others could not look upon the radiance of his face afterward. A few other Biblical prophets also reported meeting God in person.

Famously, in Hebrew Scriptures, Jacob wrestled with a stranger at night on his way to Canaan. Though dawn was approaching, neither person could prevail. Jacob refused to give up the struggle, so the stranger touched his hip, and hi joint came out of place. Afterward Jacob limped.  By remaining stubbi=orn and continuing to wrestle, he won for himself a blessing and the new name Israel. Jacob named the place by the river where he had wrestled with Godself Peniel or Penuel. (פְּנוּאֵל) Trabnslated, this means “face of God” or “facing God”.

Later, in a tender passage, Jacob then says to his brother Esau, “For I have, after all, seen your face, as one sees the face of God…” He sees Godself in his sibling’s face. It is a fleeting experience. The connection doesn’t endure, perhaps because humans cannot sustain such awareness in each other’s company. Theologian Steve Watson writes, “He has just had this profound spiritual experience – he knows a thing or two about seeing the face of God. And he looks at his brother, face to face, and thinks that is what is happening. To see you accepting me, for us to be at peace – without walls, without fear, person to person, is for me to see in your face the face of God.  … this proves to be too much. The intimacy of full personhood, brother to brother, is somehow so unfamiliar, so threatening, that within a day, he’s moved on… But for a moment, he had that connection, that peace to see the face of God in his brother.”

Yet for a brief time, they both experienced a profound sense of once more being in God’s company. They found God in each other.

Of course, the followers of Jesus walked in the embodied presence of the child of God. Most Christians recognize him as part of the holy trinity: Godself.

Jesus also, powerfully, reminded people that when they attended to the needs of others, they attended to the needs of God. They met Jesus in the form of other people to whome they offered compassion. How often, then, might you have been meeting the needs of Godself, even sat or kept vigil in the presence of Godself, by responding to human needs?

In our times, how do we see Godself in the world around us?

Has any person ever brought you into the presence of God? Perhaps at thesholds, such as birth or death, or life moments such as making promises to each other?

Or have you, like Moses, find Godself out in nature? On top of a mountain? Inside the the branches of a bush? At the ocean’s edge? In a quiet woodland? A spring meadow? A winter storm? A summer rainfall? In the midst of birdsong? Surrounded by wild creatures? In the presence of your own pet?

Remember that Godself saw your face first. And loved you, even if you didn’t recognize Godself.  — Rev Gail


Trust and value your own divinity as well as your connection to nature. Seeing God’s work everywhere will be your reward.  — Wayne Dyer

Love is seeing God in the person next to us, and meditation is seeing God within us. Votes: — Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God’s handwriting. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Seeing God face to face is to feel that He is enthroned in our hearts even as a child feels a mother’s affection without needing any demonstration. — Mahatma Gandhi

Challenge or Question: Where do you experience God’s self-revelation in the world?

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