I saw God once. I saw the Father looking at me, his eyes full of compassion. He didn't need to say anything, I knew he was with me. I knew the gift of his presence, coming down from on high, undiluted, undiminished, far beyond "just enough." The lavishness startled me, I thought it was more than I needed that day. And perhaps it was, but the memory has sustained me for several years. So God had more in mind than just that moment, but moments yet to come.

How did I see? By the eyes of faith, by remembering the promise that all good gifts come from above. I took my best memory of compassion from a fellow pilgrim, and recast it. That was good, but merely an echo of God's compassion. Not one moment that can never be repeated, but an ongoing reality of God inviting me to lay my heart before him, God already knowing the labyrinth of my feelings and not rejecting me for the mess but loving me in the mess.

Last week I saw and I celebrated with friends who held to the promises, who prayed and sang to God with us, the great Emmanuel, in their time of loss. I celebrated the new Covenant, that God gave us more than insight and rules how we should live, he came down and lived among us, so that he can circulate his life to us.

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