Seeing the Faces of God
Every so often when I read a Gospel story, I stop and say, “Huh?” Itseems like some crucial piece of information is missing. I get one of those inklings when I read the story of the disciples walking with Jesus on the road to Emmaus. It’s difficult to believe they didn’t recognize him. I mean, come on. These guys knew him; they hung out with him; they got the bonus explanations that the regular crowds didn’t. How could they not recognize him? The only thing I can figure is that maybe, just maybe, Jesus wasn’t wearing the face they knew.
A few years ago, there was a TV show about a teenage girl who kept meeting random strangers who turned out to be God in disguise. There was no rhyme or reason to God’s appearance. He might be a janitor, a rich woman, a pizza-delivery guy, or a mime. Once or twice the main character assumed she was talking to God when she wasn’t. The unpredictability of these appearances taught her to approach every person and situation as if God were present—because he was. This principle may seem so obvious that it appears ridiculous. However, it’s hard to keep in mind in real life. Most of us want to do God’s will, if we could just figure out what it is. The world’s problems seem so big—far bigger than we can handle. Most often, we focus on issues, ideas, and philosophies. But issues, ideas, and philosophies are only important because of how they impact people. All too often, I find myself wandering through life on autopilot, completely unaware of God’s presence in those around me. Middle-class life seems far removed from the “least ones” (Matthew 25:45). We think we don’t cross paths with them, but maybe we do.