I was struck today by Christ’s words in John 14:9, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” I thought of Christ’s face, pierced by thorns, spat upon, sweat-laden, as He died on the cross. We’ve seen that face — depicted in artwork, portrayed in movies, and on the Shroud of Turin, which science has shown truly represents the Holy Face of Christ. It is a face of love, gentleness, self-sacrifice, and mercy.
Christ and God are part of the Divine Trinity. They are mysteriously One, yet not one-and-the-same. The Father is not human, His Face is beyond our imagining. The Jews believed that, if they looked upon it, they would die. Yet, what we see written on the face of Christ — love, gentleness, self-sacrifice, and mercy — are written on the face of God, as well.
Shortly after I’d meditated upon John 14:9, a friend sent another scripture verse. In 2 Chronicles 7:13-14, the Lord tells Solomon, “If I close heaven so that there is no rain, if I command the locust to devour the land, if I send pestilence among my people, if then my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and heal their land.”
It seemed like no coincidence that those two scriptures should come across my path this morning. Our God is merciful, loving, and just. In the midst of this “pandemic,” He asks that we humble ourselves, pray, turn from sin, and seek His face. In His loving care, He has given us even more than His Word in the scriptures. He’s given us His Son, Jesus Christ, that we may better know Him, and better seek Him. Even when we can’t receive His Body and Blood in the Eucharist, we have this. The very Face of the Son of God, who is God.
Ours is not an angry God. The bad things He allows to happen are due to the freedom of will He has so generously given all mankind. Even when we must suffer consequences from that freedom, He is merciful and loving. He will never give us more than we can bear. His yoke is easy and His burden light, when we seek His face. As the trials of these days lengthen and grow heavier, may we put our trust in Him and seek His face, knowing that He will hear us. He will pardon our sins. He will heal our land.
Thanks be to God.