Thursday, May 20, 2010

To Be Known

There is an Anglican church just a subway stop away from work where I decided to go and chill on my lunch today. I went once or twice last summer because it's a gorgeous church, and its just a short walk even if I don't take the train. On my literally 30 second walk from the subway station to the church, I passed a man sitting with an empty coffee cup panhandling - everyone walked by without any hesitations or acknowledgment as he wished each person a good day.

Monday night I ignored a panhandler at Bloor station with crippled legs and then felt convicted about it and went back to try to find him and wasn't able to, so today when I saw this man I felt like it was an opportunity to make up for freezing up on Monday. Don't get me wrong - I am too broke to give money to every panhandler... before our tax cheques came, I was too broke to give money to any panhandlers! But in both of these cases I really felt like I should give some money, and if I tried to explain this all in the context of all my thought processes, this post would probably never end. So. I gave this guy a toonie and went back into the church to pray.

I ended up flipping through the pew bible and reading Matthew 11:25-30. What struck me the most is when Jesus says in verse 27 that, "no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son". I never realized what an intense and intimate picture this is - I always thought "oh, obviously - since they're GOD. No one gets it but them - next verse."

But then I thought about the man sitting outside wishing good days on strangers who wouldn't look at him, and of the loneliness that Jesus must have felt as a man who nobody understood, who was violently misunderstood. What a comfort it is to know that each of us is truly, deeply, completely known by the God who made us and loves us. And we can know him because of Jesus!

I asked the man his name as I walked back to work - it was Mark. We chatted a little bit, and he said he's there regularly, so I will be sure to say hi if I see him again. This encounter made me reflect on what it means to be known, to really connect and share with others. I think this need is what Jesus experienced and why he had such a deep relationship with the Father - God was not his ticket to heaven, or a magic genie he could ask for blessings but the solution to the deepest of human needs: to be known.

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