Together in Spirit

Browsing From the Desk of Fr. Mike

See God in Each Other

What does God look like?  In the book of Genesis God walks with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening and they converse with each other. Generations later, long after the fall of Adam and Eve; God enters a very close relationship with Abraham. Although Abraham has multiple encounters with God; the author of the story never gives us a clear description of this Being whom Abraham is talking with. Perhaps the clearest the author gets is in the story of God’s visitation with Abraham in Genesis 18, which tells of Abraham sitting at the Oak of Mamre during the hottest part of the day.  Abraham looks up and sees three men standing near him. He runs to them and begs them to stay with him while he provides hospitality. They agreed and while they refreshed themselves, they talked with Abraham telling him that within the next year Abraham’s wife Sarah would have a son. 

The next “clear” appearance of God takes place during Jacob’s life. He is the grandson of Abraham. He had irritated several of his relatives as he surged towards taking upon himself the birthright that only Isaac, his father could bestow. Outwitting both Laban, his uncle, and Esau, his brother, set him up to be confronted by both of them. On the eve before his confrontation with Esau; Jacob sees what he believes to be a man and begins to wrestle with him throughout the night (Genesis 32). By the morning it becomes clear that Jacob had wrestled with God. God gives him the name Israel and blesses him. 

Four hundred years later, as Jacob’s (Israel’s) children are being held in slavery by the Egyptians God once again reveals himself, this time in a burning bush that is not consumed by the flames. He speaks to Moses and calls him to be His spokesman as He frees the enslaved nation of Israel. There are other tales of theophanies to Moses, to Jacob, to several of the prophets, yet in all of these manifestations there is never a clear description of God. 

In today’s Gospel Jesus tells his disciples: “If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him." Phillip makes a very logical challenge: "Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us." Jesus answers: “How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.  Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves.”

In the Gospel of Matthew (25) Jesus makes clear where we can see him, in real life. “When I was hungry you fed me, when I was thirsty you gave me to drink. When I was naked you clothed me. When I was sick or in prison you visited me.  As often as you did it for the least of your brothers and sisters you did it for me.


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