"Finding God is not hard. Letting God find us...is hard" (Nick Wagner, Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction, Vol. 22 No. 3). As the mother of a 31-year-old son with autism, I long to be known by God. I often need comfort, discernment, direction, or just a simple "hug" from the Holy Spirit. I need to know that God loves me, even with all of my shortcomings.
Lectio Divina, (Sacred Reading of the Scriptures), practiced in a small group, is one of my favorite ways of listening for God's voice and knowing God, even as I am known by Him. In Lectio we drop from the head to the heart, listening to what God has to say to us personally rather than studying the Bible for information. Sometimes, amazing insights occur. Other times it is simply a peaceful time in the Lord's presence. This week our Scripture was Numbers 6: 22-27:
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
In Lectio, the verses are read out loud, slowly, three separate times. With each reading, we listen for one word or sentence that grabs our attention or shimmers with energy. We share within the group after each reading. After the first reading, we simply share the word or phrase that grabbed us. With the second read-through, we listen again for a particular word or phrase, and share how it intersects with our lives today. After the third reading we go into the quiet for 30 minutes, listening for what God might be inviting us to.
This week, coming out of the quiet, one friend shared that she loved The Message version, where it says “God smile on you and gift you.” She meditated, during the quiet, on God smiling on her. She suddenly had a sense of God looking at her while she looked at him, and that they truly saw and knew one another.
We all long to be truly known. As I contemplated my friend’s words, I remembered a poem I wrote several years ago. Joel was a teenager, and in the midst of a silly game we were playing I had the incredible experience of being seen and known by God, and looking back and seeing and knowing God, all through the eyes of my son.
And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (Luke 24: 31-32)
Finished with our game
of funny faces
Joel cups my face
between his palms
An offering of praise
Thirteen going on three
his childlike eyes
arrest my gaze
burn with new intelligence
Remembered words drop
in the pond of our play
shall shame the wise
Funny chipmunk face
y heart ignites
Take some time today to sit with the blessing from Numbers 6: 22-27. Allow yourself to imagine God's face shining on you; to see Him smiling on you. And then, allow yourself to see Him looking at you as you look back at Him, and know, down to the deepest part of you, down to your very bones, that He knows you and loves you and delights in you.
The Poem "Emmaus Eyes" is from my book, Autism & Alleluias (Judson Press, 2010)
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