Thursday, May 1, 2014

Being Known

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

Attending the Southeast Deanery clergy gathering, I am reminded again how important it is for us to be in relationship with one another and to be known. Many shared the joys and the challenges of this calling and the word isolation and loneliness came up over and over. God called each of these amazing people to be ministers and each is gifted and beloved. And yet the human challenges and personal tragedies can cause even the best to lose heart. Expectations, both our own and those we serve can overwhelm even the strongest among us.

Jesus, in the first chapter of John, was gathering his disciples. The joy of being called was evident in Philip as he shared his excitement with his friend Nathanael, who is more reluctant and very honest. Jesus, in meeting Nathanael, sees his honesty and his strength. Jesus gets Nathanael, and in turn Nathanael gets Jesus. This is a very early instance of a person declaring Jesus' divinity. The relationship between Jesus and Nathanael, and all the disciples is cemented and deepened, because Nathanael is loved for exactly who he is, and in being known, is also able to see God in the man Jesus. Being known reveals love, compassion and honesty.

Today I ask God to help me do the work of  building relationships. May my heart and mind be open to the people with whom I serve. May we all listen and look for the intimate need in others that can be hidden by fear and need. May we be known as those who are moved to love, compassion and honesty always as we serve Christ in this world.

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