A reflection for Sunday 7th July 2024 by The Rev'd Canon Dean Fostekew

“Look into the eyes of another human being and you glimpse God.”

Sometimes it is the most unlikely of people that God chooses to use as a messenger or prophet; people that many of us might rather ignore or write off. Take John-the-Baptist for a start, a woolly, hairy man, half-undressed and living in the wild on locusts and honey – not the first person you might expect Jesus to ask to baptise him! Or Richard Holloway, who has said and continues to say things that are profound and help many understand what we mean by God. Many of the saints are similar and the records of their life bear witness to the fact that things they have said or done have so dramatically changed things that one can only assume that they came from God or were divinely inspired.

What strikes me so forcibly about Ezekiel’s comment is that God can talk to us face to face if he pleases. Stand up and face me he says, join me in face to face conversation. Wow! Usually we hear of people hiding from God but apparently this is not always the case, if he wants to God will talk directly to one as person to person.

I have an unusual friend who may be one of those people to whom God talks to directly. But I would

never tell them so for fear that it would drive them mad. A lot of the time their conversation is quite bizarre but just occasionally what they say takes my breath away. I have certainly learned not to judge by appearances. What these encounters have also taught me is not to assume that what I see is always what it may seem to be, even in the most difficult or troubled beings God may choose to reveal himself.

I am sure that my friend does not know how profound they can be at times in their explanation of God and God’s ways. They may not be an obvious prophet but then what does a prophet look like any way – a carpenter from Nazareth?

I am heartened by the fact that God can talk to us face to face if he wishes, although we may not always realise that he is doing so until after the event. He talks to us through each other through the mutual image of God that we share. When we look into the eyes of another human being we can spark the image within them and ourselves and it is this that I believe is looking at God face to face.

“O mortal, stand on your feet and I will speak with you.”

If God chooses to speak with us face to face it may be that he chooses to do so through someone most unlikely, this is what my encounters with my friend

has taught me. The moral of this sermon is then; ‘watch out’ for whom you are talking to because you never know who might be talking to you through them. Keep alert and you too may find yourself talking directly to God but probably without realising so until well after the encounter.