"...face to face..."
"There on the mountain the Lord spoke to you face to face from the fire." (Deuteronomy 5:4)
I chased these guys all summer. Generally, I'd never see them until it was too late. As I walked along, they camouflaged themselves among the weeds then jumped further away as I approached. A few days ago I was delighted when this fellow jumped right in front of me on the sidewalk. (I think the falling temperatures made him a little sluggish.) I sprawled out on the sidewalk and there we were -- face to face. I wonder what he wondered? I thought it was pretty special to lie there for a few moments and study him. (Patti managed to stand a few feet away and pretend she didn't know me.)
Anyway, face to face generally marks an important encounter. In the passage from Deuteronomy this face to face encounter between the Israelites and God provided the opportunity for the Ten Commandments to be communicated by God to Moses and the others. Businesses and governments recognize the importance of "face time." Why else would executives and officials jet all around the world to meet each other face to face when a phone call or email would be so much simpler and cheaper?
Face to face time is important in relationships. Face to face is when we truly focus on one another. We see the subtle cues, the unvoiced hurts, joys, questions and more. We have the opportunity to respond in ways we otherwise might have missed were we not face to face. There is a connection face to face that is unique. The connection may be difficult to describe, but it is real and knowable.
To seek out and meet one another face to face means that we really want to know the other. It communicates that we also really want to be known by the other. Face to face is the pathway to intimacy. Too many relationships lack face to face time. There is no substitute. Many folks spend lots of time together, but still do not look for the opportunities to encounter each other face to face. It's really not enough to simply say, "I love you." If a relationship is to be intimate and fulfilling, I also have to want to know you. Truly knowing you comes from spending time with you face to face.
Our spiritual lives also require "face time" with God. It's not enough to say we believe. We also have to want to know and be known by God, and that also only comes from spending time face to face with God in worship, study, and prayer. I pray that God will remind me to seek the face to face time I need with God and others. How about you?
Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Sand Hill United Methodist Church
Boaz, West Virginia
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"...face to face..."