What’s In a Face?

11 Jun

I find it so important to contemplate both the humanity and divinity of Jesus. To lose the beauty of the tension in the middle is to lose what is at the heart of Christ. Because Jesus was really human, we can desire to follow him by walking in his footsteps. For so many people, Jesus as human is a possible point of contact because for so many of us, we fall in love with a face, with a person, in a way that we don’t fall in love with an idea.

On the day before class starts, I love the idea of teaching and the subject matter I’m able to teach. Yet it is when the desks are filled with new faces that I get really excited. I love the particularity of learning students and a class over the span of the course. When I was pregnant, I loved the little person growing inside me. I loved the idea of being a mom and of bearing a life inside my body. Then, when there was a particular face to fall in love with, the love morphed into something more intense, more personal, and more transformative for me. I adore this one person with this one unique face. Before I met my spouse, I liked the idea of living a partnered life. Then I met him, and fell in love with his particular face and way of being in the world, and that love of partnership became more intense and personal in its particularity. My specific love for my child and my spouse changed me, transformed my heart. Their love for me transforms me, too. When I see adoration on their faces directed at me, my heart grows.

God took on a particular human face in Jesus. It is a face his mother and his friends could fall in love with in a more personal and intimate way. God came near. We can contemplate the particular face of Jesus and see that face adoring us. Richard Rohr reminds us:

In Jesus, God took the human form, human face, human eyes, human endearment; God is finally someone we could fall in love with.

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