Every day as I drive to work, I pass by a church where the minister stands outside in all kinds of weather, waving to the traffic. Even though I pass by on the opposite side of the road, the minister and I usually wave to each other. This past year, though, I have become fairly certain that he recognizes me or, at the very least, my car. He doesn’t just wave to me- his smile brightens, he points, and he acts excited to see me. Now, maybe he is just happy that someone is waving back in the midst of the morning rush hour, but I am choosing to believe that this pastor recognizes me. Seeing his reaction always brightens my morning and reminds me of the sense of contentment and joy that comes from being known.
I love doing carpool duty at the school where I work. It is a great opportunity to connect with students and families. A couple of years ago, my role in carpool duty was to stand near the end of the line and call the students over the walkie-talkie so they could get lined up as their parents drove in. I made it my mission to get to know each car so that I did not have to ask who they were picking up as they drove in. Several parents and I developed hand signals so they could remind me which child was theirs. I will never forget the look of joy and surprise on one mom’s face when I gave her the signal for her daughter- the American Sign Language sign for “j”- before she could give it to me. She knew that her family was known at school.
God Knows Each of Us
The other day, I saw a meme on Facebook with a magnified image of snowflakes. They were intricately designed, each one different from the next. The caption said, “If God will put this much detail into a snowflake, what makes you think your life is any less important?” This made me think about Psalm 139:16 which says, “Even before I was born, you had written in your book everything about me.” Isn’t it amazing to think about being truly and fully known by God, the creator of the universe?
How has God shown you that you are known by the creator? Is God standing on the corner, waving as you drive by? Is God giving you the secret hand signal? Does God surprise you with the red wings of a cardinal to remind you of a loved one who has gone on to Heaven? Does God surprise you with the blooms of the bulbs you planted last fall as spring approaches? Does God paint you a pink and purple sunset on a rough day?
We Show We Know God
I saw a clip from the current season of American Idol of a man from Nepal. When he entered the room, he greeted the judges with namaste. I have heard this greeting in most of the yoga classes I have ever taken. It roughly translates to “I bow to the divine in you.” I think this idea fits in well with the Christian tradition of “every child is a child of God.” I count it such a blessing when God shows me that I am known- but, how do I show God that I know God? I think that one way we show we know God is by recognizing and acknowledging God in everyone around us. We can do this by taking time to listen to someone who is lonely, by being patient while waiting for someone to finish at the check-out, by volunteering to read to children at our neighborhood school, or even simply by smiling at others as we pass by them. If we follow the example of Jesus, showing compassion and empathy to others, we show God that we know God, we acknowledge God, and that we value our relationship with God.