Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you? ~ John 14:9
In my favorite movie, Love Actually, there is one scene where a pre-teen son parrots back a word of encouragement to his father, as they are trying to get over the loss of his mother “Let’s go get the shit kicked out of us by love.” At age 12 he had already experienced his first crush and he wanted to encourage his dad to love again.
Do you remember your first love? The way that person made you feel. The intensity, the obsession, the high and then the breakup. The crushing end to what you thought would go on forever. Then you recovered and got back in the game and tried again. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why endure something that has the potential to be so painful?
I believe it is because human love has the potential to point us back to God. It awakens in us our deepest desire to be seen and understood and valued.
Jesus says to Philip in John 14:9, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father!” Philip was confused. He thought there was something he was missing. But it was right in front of him the whole time. Jesus. The Human.
There is a saying, “Life is a mirror.” It reflects back to us what we think about who we are. If we suspect we are unworthy, life will create situations to confirm our belief. If we believe we deserve love, we will likely find it. Just as a physical mirror only shows us accurately the state of our body, without judgment.
When I go shopping I always believe I will get a front row spot. I call this magic my parking fairy and without fail, I almost always do. Even recently I went to Costco during the busiest time of day. I assumed I would find a spot right up front so I drove there and wouldn’t you know, someone was pulling out at that very moment. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. That’s what the mirror concept is.
But LOVE breaks that mirror. It rushes into our world in unexpected, unpredictable and undeserved ways. Think of all the ways Jesus showed up to those who were hurting, or sick or rejected and offered them hope and healing and love. They weren’t looking for it. They didn’t believe they deserved it. It just happened.
This HUMAN was the vehicle to point the receiver back to the Father. Jesus never took the credit He was the vessel.
He goes on to say, Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words I speak are not my own, but my Father who lives in me does his work through me. Just believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me. Or at least believe because of the work you have seen me do. ~ John 19:10-11
And this I believe is the power of love carried out in the world. Human to human. We are revealing the Father to one another through our fallible and often flawed ways of being. But nonetheless, appreciating someone, giving to them without expecting anything back, listening with care and concern to those who are suffering and touching with the gentle hand of healing are all expressions of God’s love flowing through us into the heart of another.
This is home.
This is the reason human love can be so exhilarating and so painful. This is why we keep going back to, ‘get the shit kicked out of us,’ until we find our forever love in the Father, this is why we can love our children unconditionally, this is why we endure so much. Because the love of God resides in us and we so desperately want to connect to it, plug it into the source of all Love. And the only way we can do that is through a human experience.
It’s no wonder earlier in the chapter Jesus was talking about His Father’s house saying there is more than enough room. There is room for everyone to receive God’s Love.
Today make this your mission. Show love to someone in the way you believe Jesus would have. Help point them back home. Help them see the Father’s love for them through your actions. It’s not about you. It’s giving someone the experience of seeing how God’s spontaneous and generous love shows up in a time of need.
Jesus finishes his thoughts to Philip by saying, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!”
What are the greater works? Love from a pure heart and asking for His power to flow through you. Not because of you, but so you can be a vessel, like Jesus was, pointing humanity back to the Father. May we be a LOVE compass pointing one another back home, through our love for each other.
Day 24 Lenten Love Prayer:
The power of your love who can understand it? The unexpected nature of your time on earth. Days spent healing those who were sick in body and spirit, pouring out the Father’s love into the hearts of those who were hurting and never taking credit for it. May I be able to love like that. With no strings attached. With no agenda. From a connection to the power source, which is You. When I ask for your love and power to flow through me, help me to remember that is not me doing the works but You. It’s hard to love as You did. Unselfishly. Forgive me for wanting something back or giving expecting to receive. That is not how you showed me. Help me to keep my focus on You and trust that You will take care of my every need. Help me to humbly receive love when it is offered and see it as an expression of Your love towards me. Thank you for showing me how to love through your perfect example may I grow more like you each day. Give me an opportunity today to show Your love to someone who needs it.
Day 24 Scripture:
…and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us ~ Romans 5:5