29 May, 2012

The First Time


♫♬ The first time ever I saw your face….
I thought the sun rose in your eyes…
And the moon and the stars were gifts you gave to the dark and the endless skies♫♬


In 1972, Roberta Flack sang a new song that resonates in my heart today.  Listen to the music before you read further. 

Transitioning to a new place in life?  New job? New city? New husband or new wife? New baby?  How about an active household that now is empty?  Transitioning makes me remember old times even as I look to the new.  It’s as though I’m looking back in order to fully see what’s ahead.  I’ve often thought that my difficulty with transition was that I was so uncomfortable with change.  But this month as I’ve begun to transition to an empty-nest the looking back has brought me back to my first love.

Do you remember the first time you saw your love’s face?  Do you remember the first glimpse across a crowded room and catching his eye? Do you remember the first time you saw your newborn baby’s face?  The first time ever I saw your face….I thought the sun rose in your eyes…As our daughter leaves for college, the transition becomes real and our hearts begin to ache.  But what could have been days of sadness and tears have been met by the glimpse of Another.  The first time ever I saw His face, I knew the sun rose in His eyes...

This is my interpretation of a familiar story:
The woman had been called out.  She had merely been walking through the room hoping to go unnoticed and into worship.  She drew unwanted attention as her pain was evident to all.  But she believed in the God who redeems and the God who makes life new.  The new teacher called out to her and told her to come forward.  The woman wanted to stand frozen in her place but once she sensed His look, once she saw His face she moved forward.  Compelled.  She was hurting both physically, emotionally and spiritually.  ‘What’s next’, she wondered.  ‘What will I do now?  Who will have me?  What’s my purpose?

The Teacher spoke words she did not understand and the crowd slowly began to move away.  No one had touched her or harmed her.  She merely stood straight up.  Then suddenly, He was there looking right into her, through her. 

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, 11 and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years.  She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. 12 When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.” Luke 13:10-12.

I believe the woman felt His eyes knew her in every way.  She too felt the first time ever I saw His face my life changed.  My going out changed.  My purpose changed.

So as we transition in our own ways this summer, may we see His eyes looking into us and through us.  May we recall the first time ever we saw His face and draw from Him that strength.  His strength of grace, mercy, forgiveness and love – those mighty ways of Him living in us that we can offer to the world.