The one who recognizes God
If the Lord were to appear this day in England as once in [Israel], He would not come in the halo of the painters, or with that wintry shine of effeminate beauty, of sweet weakness, in which it is their helpless custom to represent him. Neither would He probably come as carpenter, or mason, or gardener. He would come in such form and condition as might bear to the present England, Scotland, and Ireland, a relation like that which the form and condition He then came in, bore to the motley Judea, Samaria, and Galilee. If He came thus, in form altogether unlooked for, who would they be that recognized and received Him?
The idea involves no absurdity. He is not far from us at any moment – if the old story be indeed more than the best and strongest of the fables that possess the world. He might at any moment appear: who, I ask, would be the first to receive Him? Now, as then, it would of course be the childlike in heart, the truest, the least selfish. They would not be the highest in the estimation of any church, for the childlike are not yet the many. It might not even be those that knew most about the former visit of the Master, that had pondered every word of the Greek Testament.
The first to cry, ‘It is the Lord!’ would be neither ‘good churchman’ nor ‘good dissenter.’ It would be no one with so little of the mind of Christ as to imagine Him caring about stupid outside matters. It would not be the man that holds by the mooring-ring of the letter, fast in the quay of what he calls theology, and from his rotting deck abuses the presumption of those that go down to the sea in ships – lets the wind of the spirit blow where it listeth, but never blow him out among its wonders in the deep. It would not be he who, obeying a command, does not care to see reason in the command; not he who, from very barrenness of soul, cannot receive the meaning and will of the Master, and so fails to fulfill the letter of his word, making it of none effect.
It would certainly, if any, be those who were likest the Master – those, namely, that did the will of their Father and His Father, that built their house on the rock by hearing and doing His sayings. But are there any enough like Him to know Him at once by the sound of His voice, by the look of His face? There are multitudes who would at once be taken by a false Christ fashioned after their fancy, and would at once reject the Lord as a poor impostor.
One thing is certain: they who first recognized Him would be those that most loved righteousness and hated iniquity.
One of us
If God had a name, what would it be
And would you call it to His face
If you were faced with Him in all His glory?
What would you ask if you had just one question…
If God had a face what would it look like?
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that you would have to believe
In things like heaven and in Jesus and the saints and all the prophets?
Dear God, please make me the kind of a person that wants to see your face, whatever the cost. And then make me the kind of person who can see your face, when you walk down our streets, in our town…
O Abba, help me to follow you in the one thing that I know is right, and yet struggle to do. You say to obey is better than sacrifice, to hearken than the fat of rams -- teach me the beauty of obedience where I try to substitute sacrifice, and so grant me the wholeness that sees your face today...