Saturday, 14 January 2012

Where do you live?

Gospel- John 1:35-42 

As John stood with two of his disciples, Jesus passed, and John stared hard at him and said, ‘Look, there is the lamb of God.’ Hearing this, the two disciples followed Jesus. Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, ‘What do you want?’ They answered, ‘Rabbi,’ – which means Teacher –’where do you live?’ ‘Come and see’ he replied; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him the rest of that day. It was about the tenth hour.
  One of these two who became followers of Jesus after hearing what John had said was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. Early next morning, Andrew met his brother and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ – which means the Christ – and he took Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked hard at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John; you are to be called Cephas’ – meaning Rock.

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.C. S. Lewis

Where, I wonder, would you expect the Lamb of God to live? A strange question... although - what would you ask of someone named as God's chosen?

And in the end, the right question because, where Jesus lives, is the centrepoint of how he gathers his disciples around him. 

He looks at them.

We know that in John, everything that happens, happens on many levels; that seeing and looking has hardly anything to do with physical sight. 

Yet, how often is it the first response? We do judge books by the cover; we rarely take a second look; beauty is mostly skin deep and what you see is often what you get. 

But not with Jesus; Jesus has his Father's eyes that sees the world he created and knows that it is good; 

Jesus has his mother's eyes when she looks at the child in her arms and sees the Sacrifice God has asked her to carry; 

Jesus has Joseph's eyes that see innocence and integrity amidst claims of sin and betrayal. 

This is the place where Jesus lives. The place of truth, of Love - without artifice, without judgement. Jesus looks; and the layers crumble - the show, the shields, the scars, the stubborn need to 'do it by myself'. 

For many of the people Jesus meets, this is enough. That, from nowhere, there is a connection -  a sense of being loved; being healed; being made whole - is enough. We see the healed gathered back into their community; sometimes without even a thank-you. 

But that is alright; after all we are all brothers and sisters and that's what family are like. 

And then, there are the others, Andrew, Peter, Levi, Mary - those who are called; those who are looked at and those who, in their own way, try to look back. 

Today, we might say this is the gift of contemplative prayer - to see and be seen in Love.

And there grows relationship; that despite being very ordinary people with mostly no comprehension of why he is really here and few talents except for getting things wrong - they follow him - the defend him- they risk stoning and exclusion for him - eventually they will die for him.  

They become the family he may choose- they become friends. 

Perhaps it's worth looking back?

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born."
- Anais Nin



Jade said...

Brilliant! I really love how all the quotes tie in together, especially the Anais Nin one at the end. When I pray, I will imagine Jesus looking at me and seeing me as I am, beneath, as you write, the layers of shields and scars. This makes me think of the Hebrew name for God, "El Roi" (the one who sees).

Bea said...

It's all anyone wants really, to be seen, acknowledged, to belong, to be connected. So many people are afraid to look at others, afraid of what that look might be saying... might be interpreted as "You can ask me for help, and I'll give it." but what many would rather do is not be asked so they don't have to respond.

I loved your post, ties in with our sermon this week.

Word in the Hand said...

Jade - love the Anais Nin quote myself - the value of true friends and a wonderful name for God.

Bea! lovely to 'see' you again - your comment about the avoidance of gaze - so true - the easy way; not to get involved.

Word in the Hand said...
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