face to face

I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.

2 John 12

I have much to write you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink. I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face.

Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name.

3 John 13-14

An interesting experience I had a few years back, I quit reading from the psalms at lunch and sat at a table with co-workers that were friends, but whom I could hardly understand or altogether identify with. It became actually like a born again experience. I developed a bond with that group. They graciously included me, and I learned much from that, although I think it was more than that. It was an actual transforming kind of experience. There is nothing that replaces a face to face encounter and ongoing time with people.

And I’m not just talking about infrequent visits, though if that’s the best we can do because of circumstances, it certainly does not lack in value. There needs to be commitment to get together and just be together. Nothing spectacular, just be together. And with friends, warts and all.

John wrote to the church, and that certainly has extraordinary value in that it’s now a part of scripture. Pastors teaching the counsel of God from scripture continues to have transformative power on listeners who are intent to follow through since after all, it is the written word of God. But there’s nothing like being face to face, maybe over coffee. And practicing that over time.

What we remember this Advent, and celebrate at Christmas, the Incarnation, Emmanuel: God-with-us in the Christ child. Truly amazing. But sets the pattern for what needs to be priority to us as Christians. Yes, we share in words. But with each other, in a true sense sharing ourselves. Simply being present; Christ present with us. God with us in all of this, in and through Jesus.

face to face

Moses knew God face to face in a unique way, and the blessing in the Pentateuch is that the Lord would bless and keep his people and make his face shine on them, and give them peace. And the psalmist wrote that this should be so, so that all the peoples of the earth might come to know God. They would somehow come to see the face of God through God’s face shining on them.

John in one of his letters says that he hoped to appear to the recipients that they might see each other face to face.

I think this is surely a blessing for all of God’s children in and through Jesus. By the Spirit we experience the enduring glory of the new covenant, with a brightness that doesn’t fade as was the case in the old covenant with Moses. God’s glory from face to face times with God would gradually fade away in Moses’s case, but somehow in our case, though it’s not the visible kind, yet it is visible to eyes that can see this glory by the Spirit.

That to say this: I want to be more and more in God’s Presence in Jesus, and I want to be more and more in the presence of others in Jesus, as well as those who are not. We somehow can receive more and more of God’s glory though God’s grace to us in Christ. And we pass on something of that to each other. As well as the world hopefully coming to see something of the face of the Lord, of Jesus even through our faces, especially our faces together, but also our faces apart, individually.

Yes, I need so much more of this face to face blessing from God. And I want to receive it from others in Jesus, the blessing from God which comes through their faces. And we hope that somehow that glory might be seen by others not in Jesus, that they might be grace see and believe and share in that glory with us in and through Jesus.