Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Getting to Know You

Psalm 139:1-10
O LORD, you have searched me and known me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away.
3 You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue, O LORD, you know it completely.
5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.

John 10:14-15 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.

John 14:6-9 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him." 8 Philip said to him, "Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied." 9 Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?

I commented in my last post that our reunion didn't really give us a chance to get to know each other beyond a surface level. So for my message at the office Communion Service this morning, I did a Bible Software search for the word "know." The above passages are the one's I chose for today's message. I asked myself what does it take to really know and be known by someone - by God?

In the workshops I've been hosting, I've been learning that one way to build connections is to share stories. I believe there are two elements to sharing our stories that help us connect. The first being willing to be vulnerable - to open ourselves to the other or to God. It takes courage to share our inner selves with our closest friends much less with mere acquaintances. Our social standards have a continuum of intimacy and we are uncomfortable when someone is open and vulnerable to a degree beyond what the social situation calls for. At the same time, I think we can carry about us an demeanor of openess without actually making others uncomfortable. They can know we are willing to look at and expose our weaknesses without us having to do so in great detail and scaring people off.

As we consider our relationship with God, there comes a time when we must also be willing to be vulnerable. Psalm 139 tells us that God knows us inside and out, so why is it important that we be willing to share our failures, fears, and joys with God? Because as long as we keep a wall of pretense up between us and God, we are missing out on the greatest intimate relationship available. We open our hearts to God not for God's sake, but for our own sake.

The second part of sharing our stories comes in deep listening. Hearing what is said and what is not said. We only know other people when we truly listen to their stories, taking them into ourselves. I love the wonderful hymn, "Tell Me the Stories of Jesus." I'll admit, I'm a Bible nerd. I love to feel the weight in my hand, to read even one or two verses and just sit with them hearing God's word to me, feeling it seep in to my pores. There is wisdom in "Be still and know that I am God."

God of Love, Let me know you and be known by you. Use me as you will to make yourself known to others. Amen.


ElastiGirl said...

great reflection... thanks mlr!!

DogBlogger said...

This is why I want to take Disciple with you as the leader... you make it make sense.

God_Guurrlll said...

amen and amen. I just had a moment like that yesterday where I listened deeply to another's reflections on my sermon and was transformed. GO HOLY SPIRIT!