Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God (Matthew 5:7-8).
When I see your face, whether for the first or thousandth time, whether on earth or in heaven, I want to look into your eyes and see the face of God.
Not that I expect you to be God. Relax. I do not mean to put that kind of pressure on you. But I take Genesis 1:27 seriously, that God created you and me in God’s image. God created us to love each other and, in doing so, to reveal the beauty of God through the beauty of each other.
I want to see the face of God in yours the way Jacob saw the image of God in his brother Esau’s eyes when Esau welcomed Jacob with joy. Esau surprised him with affection and celebration rather than with a firing squad for Jacob’s theft of his birthright (Genesis 33:10).
Jesus promised he would be among us where two or more gather in his name. And unbeknownst to us, he assured us that whenever we offer some care to another suffering person, we meet him there (Matthew 25:31-40).
Certain conditions enhance the likelihood that I will see the face of God when I see you. Your sinless perfection is not one of them. No, when Paul said, “We hold this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7), he meant that in our fragility, we nevertheless carry a gift from God to each other. Despite our warts and liabilities and short-sighted attitudes, we reveal God.
In fact, the appearance of having it all together and of no need to ask God’s forgiveness only obscures the image of God. For God’s ultimate revelation came not through a king on a throne but through a man dying on a cross. In our vulnerability more than our clout, we reveal God, whether we realize it or not.
On the same token, I must meet you with compassion and mercy to see the face of God in your eyes. As a fellow clay jar, I must know and confess my warts and liabilities and short-sighted attitudes. If I cannot see myself as I am, I cannot see you as you are, as my brother or sister, my fellow traveler on this pilgrimage to God.
So when I see your face, I pray that I will be as humble as Jacob was when he encountered his brother the last time. I pray that I will be as compassionate as those blessed by Christ who ministered to “the least of these.” Then through the eyes of love, I will see you clearly. And you will reveal the face of God.