The Encounter

August 24, 2013 § 8 Comments


The arms of the crucified are open – a sign of a space in God’s self and an invitation for the enemy to come in.
Miroslav Volf, Exclusion & Embrace

Last week, while in my Starbucks, where I write and think, the man in this picture entered into the mall. What distinguished him was that he was blind, which meant that his steps were deliberate as he navigated a complex he couldn’t see and only sensed with the aid of his cane, while walking among people and activity he could only hear. It all looked so tenuous. That is until the woman pictured here with him, greeted him, having entered from the opposite direction. It was obvious that each had highly anticipated the encounter, evidenced by their immediate delight and embrace. The joy was palpable.

Upon reflection I’ve concluded that at the end of the day this is what we want. We want a God who sees us even when we don’t see Him. We want a God who has space to take us in, a Father who delights at the sight of us (Luke 15:20), and who rushes to embrace us when He has every right and reason to be punitive. Yet my tendency every day is to ‘unbelieve’ the gospel, to journey back to the Egypt of my slavery to self, to buy once again into the notion that God could never love someone so damaged and unloveable. Don’t feel sorry for me – it is arrogance, not humility. Every day I want to be my own deliverer, and every day I fail.

That’s not how it works though. God is our Deliverer, and He did what the woman in this encounter did, in order to make His love credible – He came close. And His immediate proximity translated into the sacrifice of His Son.

It’s funny – initially I didn’t really know how to categorize this sweet moment, but I utterly enjoyed it, and maybe that is the point. It may be that there are experiences and encounters and glimpses and scenes that God simply wants us to witness and enter into for no other reason than to reflect in small part what He has done for us in Jesus, and continues to do with his children every day.

That in itself is good news…


§ 8 Responses to The Encounter

  • Cindy Hoover says:

    This touched something in me. Thanks Mike.

  • Lonnie Baker says:

    your pretty good at this !

  • Another really good reminder! Thanks, Mike!!

  • jptwigg says:

    Lovely. I have a question – why is it that people are focused on Jesus as thus separate super star persona.  I’m sure God never intended the egoism of this aspect of God to over shadow the message of love. I am so saddened by the missed message & hateful judgmental Christian Jesus centric people that I seek God outside of church.  I know that God/Universe/Spirit – whatever name it be – lives me & I bathe in it’s light & blessings daily & am so grateful.   Peace, Joan

    Sent from my Galaxy S®III

    • unfinished1 says:

      Hey there, Joan, thanks for your kind words, and your good question. I guess the quick answer is that Jesus is really at the heart of the Christian Faith, and as I said in the post, He is the expression of God coming close, in flesh and blood. But you’re right, He sought no celebrity, and in fact, often shied away from crowds and applause, and He knew that the cheers would soon give way to shouts for His execution. We also worship Him because His death on the Cross is at the heart of how we are reconciled to God the Father – in His death our sins are atoned for, and forgiven. So in that regard we are Jesus-centric, as you put it, but not for the purpose of ‘hateful judgment’ (which I am saddened to say is often the expression of poorly guided people who claim Christ’s name), rather for the purpose of celebrating the promise of the coming of God’s Kingdom through Him, where He makes all things new. God bless you, Joan. mike

  • fmavolio says:

    I think that it is very cool that the woman sees you taking the picture–sharing in her delight–and is unperturbed. It is a pure and holy moment, with no embarrassment.

  • flaknmb says:

    I am blessed by your insights, Mike. Thank you for sharing them.

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