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I Saw the Face of God Over Crawfish Soup

There’s this quote from the musical Les Miserables that I absolutely adore; “To love another person is to see the face of God.” I love lots of people and I see God in lots of people that I love but sometimes there are specific moments when I look at someone and ‘love’ and ‘the face of God’ become synonymous. I can’t tell a difference between loving them and loving Jesus Christ. It’s a full body feeling too; a splash of cold water on the face, full body warmth, wake up alarm type of feeling. It hasn’t happened too many times. Actually, it’s happened exactly two specific times and, to be honest, the way I’m explaining it doesn’t even compare to the way it feels when it happens but that’s about as good as words are going to get.

This past weekend I went to a wedding in Jonesboro with my boyfriend. Both of us wanted to make church Sunday morning but he wanted to go to mass and I wanted to visit a church I’d been recommended. So we got up at 7 a.m. and went to early mass and then drove straight to the Baptist church when it ended. That afternoon we had lunch with my dad and one of our close family friends. We got into a very deep pastor kid-esque discussion about the differences between the two churches we’d gone to that morning and the differences between Latin Mass (what my boyfriend normally goes to) and all the different services I attend on a regular basis (Presbyterian, Assembly of God, Latin Mass…).

On multiple occasions, I said things that could have upset my boyfriend about his preferred denomination and he said things that could have upset me about my preferred denomination. But we didn’t get upset. We know we respect each other and we respect what the other believes in. And then came the moment…I was listening to him talk about how reverent Latin Mass is and the way it makes him feel spiritually and then I saw him.

I saw his love for God seeping out of his face as he spoke. I saw how important this is to him slopping over his edges and spilling onto the table in front of us. In that moment, over his bowl of crawfish soup and Newk’s sandwich, I saw the face of God. I saw God and the love of God and I saw how it makes you feel when someone you love loves God. Not in a significant other sort of way or a best friend or family sort of way but in a this-is-so-much-bigger-than-my-eyes-or-my-design sort of way. All of this sounds weirdly out there for a traditional Presbyterian, I know, but it’s a thing. Things change when you see someone you love love God.

The day after the crawfish soup incident I began the drive to my new home for the summer, Heartland Camp. I’ve taken a job on their media team as a videographer for the summer and was asked to come down early. I have had a knot in my chest/throat/stomach/whole freakin body since I started driving down here. For some reason, I have a crazy amount of anxiety about this job and that anxiety stuck with me the whole first day and all the way up until I was sitting around a fire pit in Kansas City, Missouri with thirty people I have never met before and I saw them.

For the second time in 72 hours, I was overwhelmed by the realization that through out this summer, I will come to love these people sitting around me and I am currently watching their love for Jesus Christ slop out over their edges and spill into each other’s laps. And that makes me love them already. Every one of them became even more special than they already are because it was like I could see the writing on the wall; these people are going to enrich my faith and grow my heart.

These relationships, the ones where we can’t distinguish between a person and the Holy Spirit, are the relationships we have to hold onto as tightly as possible. These are the relationships that are going to remind you when you’re being stupid and then pull you up straight and tall and encourage you. These are the relationships that you will have no shame sharing your struggles with and you feel no unneeded pride when you share your accomplishments.

And the kicker, they won’t encourage you because they have to. They’ll encourage you because you want to know what they see when they look at you?

They see the face of God.

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