Entering the presence of another human being is like entering a cathedral. The appropriate response is awe. With our eyes open to the wonder of another person, suddenly we are in the presence of something greater than ourselves. Even though we too are human, somehow the other is greater than we are, because the other draws us out of ourselves. We find that we are made with a capacity for awe that only another person can fill.
Mike Mason in Practising the Presence of People.
I love this idea because it describes a truth that I have been slowly walking my way into for several years now.
The one-on-one meeting with God, the moment when his Spirit seems to touch our hearts such that we are undone and nothing else matters…that encounter is precious beyond words. But there is something else too, another mode of encounter with God.
You see, this God is not just any God. He is the God and Father of the One who entered into our humanity, forever identifying himself with those whom he created. He is the God who meets us by his Spirit in the One who irrevocably joined himself to men and women.
And so God encounters us in the Other.
In the relationship with husband or wife, parent or child, friend or enemy. When I sit with those whom I have long loved and when I eat with a stranger.
He is there. The God who has become human, the One who has somehow taken up our humanity into the Godhead, is now found in some sense in the relational connection between you and me. (I know there’s a lot of ‘somehow’ and ‘in some sense’ here; such reflections are still relatively new to me and I’m sure that if I say too much I’ll end up talking heresy; still I know that he told us that where two or three are gathered, there he will be also!)
Isn’t it amazing? And doesn’t it bring a new challenge for those of us who want to avoid a certain person in our lives because the relationship is too hard? In some way, beautiful as it is to experience those moments of personal encounter with God unmediated by a human Other, I am beginning to think that perhaps the other mode of God-encounter is just as precious.
And from a task-oriented, crazy-driven, by nature shy and introverted non-people person…that surely has to be saying something!