Facebook & the social media world has made Andy Warhol's famous prediction about "everyone having 15 minutes of fame" come true on several occasions. Through social media, you can have loose - more like superficial - contact with celebrities and public figures from time to time.
You get retweeted by…
So-and-so likes your post…
I'll admit it, I enjoy it when that happens. It's tingly.
But it is short term. Celebrity and being in the presence of celebrity has a brief shelf life. It doesn't last long enough to satisfy that core concern.
Lately I've been reflecting on the first two chapters of John. For whatever reason, I was struck by something about Jesus that I hadn't noticed before.
He knows His disciples.
Jesus doesn't just recognize them, He knows them. He speaks their language. He touches their deepest parts and changes their names, which in that culture changed their identity. You don't change the name of someone you don't know - that would alter their story. So many people have been named in our society -
- and the fear of being known is enough to shut out the kind of Jesus that might change your name. However that isn't the Jesus that John tells about. Instead, He tells of a Jesus who recounts a scene from the life of Nathanael that Jesus wasn't even around for.
I saw you under the fig tree.
I know your speaking, living, and lying around.
I know you in your great moments of clarity and in your moments of epic fail.
I know you even when you don't know yourself and can't figure out what it means to be alive.
The great longing of our spiritual lives is to be known. Even as much as it scares us, as much as it frightens us at the core, we want it. It's better that we simply own up to that instead of frequenting the infomercials or the strip clubs.
We want to be known and not just that, we want to be known in a way that redeems us - that saves us from ourselves or at least lets us know that someone has heard our story and we have been received, made normal, made human in their hearing.
This is where Jesus takes things to a new place.
I'm currently working on a certificate in spiritual direction, and one of our assignments each week is to present an issue God is working on in us to the group. We become the focus of the others in the group, as they prayerfully speak into the issues we're facing.
A group of four other people who up to this point share only the program in common.
For all of you introverts that just had a massive coronary, I'll pay your medical bill.
I'm afraid, honestly, to speak what I'm dealing with to them - maybe nervous is a better word - and I think the reason is that I don't want to be seen as inconsistent, ignorant, simple, misunderstood, misguided, incompetent, etc. It is an exercise in humility.
Here's where the other piece of John's story becomes even more comforting - to these men that Jesus knows, that Jesus sees at the core of their being darkness and all, He says "Come."
"Come and see."
Being known leads to being redeemed. We are redeemed by Jesus' invitation - to see Him, to have a direct and powerful experience of being in the presence of the one who knows us beyond the cognitive and welcomes us beyond rationality.
We are known.
We are welcomed.
Let me invite you to reflect on John 1-2 and ask the question - "What would it look like to be known and welcomed by Jesus in the same way as the people in this passage? Father, know me. All of me. Let me name what I've never named, confidently, in your presence - in the silence and solitude that comes in knowing I'm lost if I'm not known by You."