By: Zac Cannon
“When Jesus finished saying these things, he looked up to heaven and said,
“Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that the Son can glorify you.
2 You gave him authority over everyone so that he could give eternal life to everyone you gave him. 3 This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent.”
John 17:1-3 (CEB)
“The person who doesn’t love does not know God, because God is love.”
1 John 4:8 (CEB)
Christ Jesus invites all mankind into an intimate relationship with the one, true God; Creator and Sustainer, Source of Life. To be consumed and swept into this “God-life” can be quite intimidating. The first steps into Christian contemplation are often trepidatious. How do we move from the mind to the heart as we seek to encounter God as Lover and not as an object to categorize and define?
If God is love – not in an emotional, fleeting way but as the One who is faithful and committed to a fault – then perhaps we can most easily experience God through our own acts of love. The faces of our family – our loved ones, spouses, children – and friends. The touch of skin on skin, holy kisses and the intimacy of every human moment. Those moments in life that are not grounded in rational thought but in the wholly giving over of ourselves to the other in humility, vulnerability, and sacrifice. In those moments, our divisions are cast aside as we open our hearts to receive as we simultaneously give.
And if we can experience God in the smiles, touches, and laughter of our loved ones, how much longer before we begin to experience God in the eyes of the stranger? Before our hearts bend toward the other, perhaps even our enemies, with growing tenderness?
The mystery of encountering God as Lover is wrapped up in encountering others – friend and foe, alien and native – with a disposition of love, ascribing worth and value to every story we find ourselves wrapped up in and all the players playing their parts as we sink deeper into the love and life of the one, true God.