The psalmist cries out with longing to see God’s face. Through these words, Jews and Christians have expressed our desire to encounter God for thousands of years. But how do we fulfill that desire? How can we find God?
The bible is full of stories of divine encounter, each of them different. Sarah and Abraham unwittingly host angels when they open their house to three strangers. The prophet Elijah finds God in a still, small voice. Jonah meets God in the belly of a fish. Everyone experiences God in a different way.
This week, we read about how Simon Peter, Andrew, James, and John encounter God in a stranger named Jesus, who calls to them while they are casting and mending their nets. Ever since then, Christians have discovered that we can glimpse God through Jesus, too. We can’t see Jesus’ face in the same way that the disciples did. Still, we can learn about him in our scriptures. We can encounter the presence and spirit of Christ in prayer. And we can meet Jesus in one another. “Now you are the body of Christ, and individually members of it,” the Apostle Paul writes (1 Corinthians 12:27).
Paul’s idea may seem farfetched. Other Christians we meet may not particularly remind us of Jesus. And we ourselves may not always magnificently resemble the one we call Word, Light, Lord, Liberator. Moreover, the church has not perfectly embodied Jesus by any stretch of the imagination.
But the followers of Jesus who gathered on the feast of Pentecost after the resurrection received a glorious calling that is our precious inheritance. They were called to be, together, the body of Christ in the world. This is one reason to get up on Sunday morning, and get ourselves to church. One reason to stick around with a faith community, giving money, giving time, opening our hearts. We’ll witness many mistakes, and make plenty ourselves. But then we’ll look up from our work because we hear the voice of God; we’ll look up and we’ll see the face of God; God will be speaking to us, and shining through to us, through the voices and faces of our sisters and brothers in Christ.
God, I give thanks for the Christ in those around me. I give thanks for the Christ in me. I give thanks for the Christ in all of us, and in the church universal. Call us again to resemble you more closely, healing ourselves and the world with your love. Amen.