Wednesday, April 15, 2015

To See and Be Seen, To Know and Be Known

"To see and be seen": the phrase used to express those situations where people gather with their best foot forward to watch and be impressed by others and with hopes of being respected and seen as worthy in turn.

"To know as we are known": the phrase Paul uses in 1st Corinthians 13, his powerful piece on love/charity, to speak about the clarity of vision that is ours when "that which is perfect has come".

That which is perfect: Christ.  When we are more like Christ, when we are in and with Christ, we are better able to know as He knows us.

And how does he know us?  What's that like?  And what does it mean to know the way he knows us?

I believe "know as we are known" means that we know, understand and respond to others (and to ourselves) the way Jesus does.

Last night I gave myself an assignment to read various pieces of scripture that describe how Jesus knows, understands and responds to us.

Loves beyond our comprehension
Creates opportunities for growth
Responds with mercy and full willingness to assist
Makes sacrifices to help us reunite with God
Is willing to work long, long, long term with us
Sees our brotherhood/sisterhood clearly and positively
Loves and is willing to help all, regardless of their goodness or lack thereof
Welcomes repentance and is patient with that process
Welcomes collaboration with him regardless of degree of aptitude
Is completely honest about himself and what he understands and what  he (compassionately and honestly) understands aboutus
Is wise in all he does

At the Priesthood session of General Conference Dieter Uchtdorf discussed the difference between going to church "to see and be seen" and going through life "to know as we are known".

He said:

The greatest, most capable, most accomplished man who ever walked this earth was also the most humble. He performed some of His most impressive service in private moments, with only a few observers, whom He asked to “tell no man” what He had done. When someone called Him “good,” He quickly deflected the compliment, insisting that only God is truly good. Clearly the praise of the world meant nothing to Him; His single purpose was to serve His Father and “do always those things that please him.” We would do well to follow the example of our Master.

... this is our high and holy calling—to be agents of Jesus Christ, to love as He loved, to serve as He served, to “lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees,” to “look [after] the poor and the needy,” and to care for the widows and orphans.

I pray... that as we serve in our families, quorums, wards, stakes, communities, and nations, we will resist the temptation to draw attention to ourselves and, instead, strive for a far greater honor: to become humble, genuine disciples of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As we do so, we will find ourselves walking the path that leads to our best, most genuine, and noblest selves. 

He also said:

I am here because I desire with all my heart to follow my Master, Jesus Christ. I yearn to do all that He asks of me in this great cause. I hunger to be edified by the Holy Spirit and hear the voice of God as He speaks through His ordained servants. I am here to become a better man, to be lifted by the inspiring examples of my brothers and sisters in Christ, and to learn how to more effectively minister to those in need.

In short, I am here because I love my Heavenly Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

When I am wherever I am, I am called to the state of knowing others as Christ knows me; with pure, wise love, with clarity, with honesty about myself and others, with willingness to help, with sisterhood, to welcome change, to work hard and long and without concern about who sees or who thinks what, or how I am seen.

We are called to love God as he loves us and to let that work in our souls so that what He or others think of us is not what we are concerned about.  But rather what we yearn for is to walk all our lives "abiding in him" and with his Spirit (John 15) seeing and knowing as He does, ourselves, our friends, our enemies, our relatives, our strangers, those who make life hard for us and those who are sweet savor to our souls.

We are not called to be individually righteous and seen, we are called to abide in Him and know others the way he knows us.  And then act with that knowing.

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