The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” John 1:43-51
I often think there is something wonderful about sitting under a tree. It is an opportunity to be childlike, protected from the sun and elements, hidden, possibly from the world. And yet, we are right in the midst of everything when we are sitting under a tree. The tree is a dwelling place for birds and other creatures, home to many and can be a safe haven, a place to find sanctuary. Nestled under a tree, we can hear our heart beat, and watch the light filter through the leaves and branches. We can weep and laugh in private, reading until the sun goes down.
In our Gospel today we hear the story of Jesus and Nathanael. Jesus calls him an honest man, who calls it like he see it. And Nathanael is overwhelmed by Jesus knowing his childlike heart, that sought the gentle, cool refuge of the fig tree. Nathanael's surprise is ours also, for we think so often we are alone and not understood. And yet God knows our hearts and our secrets. And the one who made us loves us just as we are.
Today I ask God to let me be accepting of myself and others. May we embrace the unique beings that we are, knowing that God uses our peculiarities to show love to the world. Let us not hide ourselves away but rather be willing to be completely human and vulnerable, knowing that God loves shine through all of us today.