I See You

26 Oct


Barely able to wobble across the floor, the little one screeched as I chased her to the end of the row of chairs. She hid behind the next row thinking she was invisible and safe. But she couldn’t resist peeking out.

“I see you!” I intoned in sing-song baby-speak.

She giggled and took off again, looking behind to make sure I was following.

Our church has a new crop of babies. After the worship service, they come out of the various baby-holding-rooms like ants after watermelon. The worship center becomes the cutest game of hide-and-seek, each toddler eager to run (what is it about wide open spaces that encourage running?) and to be noticed.

Babies go for it with abandon; adults hide it better, but still long for it.

We want to be seen.

We want to be known.

God made us this way. Just under the surface of our image-of-God construction is the desire for relationship. Extroverts are fulfilled when surrounded by it – knowing and being known by lots of people. Introverts also long to be known, but by a select few. Quantity, not quality is the difference because God built us for relationship.

As Jesus begins his ministry on earth, he calls his twelve disciples. One by one he calls, and they follow.

After Philip receives his invitation (John 1:43-51), he invites Nathaniel to come and see Jesus. As he approaches, Jesus calls out, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” Nathanial is blown away and asks, “How do you know me?” To which Jesus replies, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.” (Emphasis added.)

This concept is similar to what is meant by the I see you phrase in Avatar. “In the Na’Vi cosmology, what’s really happening is the Ai’Wa in me is connecting with the Ai’Wa in you. This is echoed in their greeting, ‘I see you,’ a direct translation of the Sanskrit Namaste, which means the same thing.Β  As the Na’Vi explain in the film… ‘I see you’ doesn’t mean ordinary seeing – it, like Namaste, really means ‘the God in me sees the God in you.’ I see Myself, in your eyes.” (Jay Michaelson)

As I watched the movie, I didn’t know about the Eastern Mysticism “god in me, god in you” bit. (And now that I know about it, I certainly don’t agree with it!) The message that I heard is the same concept that was happening between Philip and Jesus– the terrifying and wonderful moment when Philip understands how much Jesus knows about him– everything.

Philip could have run in the opposite direction, afraid of being completely known.

But he stays.

Here is why I think he does:

  1. Philip is searching for God. Jesus says that he is “a true Israelite in whom there is nothing false.” Philip is doing everything he can to be rightly related to God.
  2. When he sees God, he knows God: “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”

And because he stays, Jesus says he will see far greater things.



Even though I know God, my human knowledge is incomplete. He knows everything about me, but I don’t come close to knowing all about him. In fact, just when I think I do know him, he does something so unexpected, I have to revise my knowledge of him. This is terrifying and wonderful at the same time.

Terrifying, because he is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-wise, and more. He sees my actions and motives!

Terrifying, because he works in ways I don’t understand.

Wonderful, because he is bigger than my knowledge. (I understand how much I know, and it is SO miniscule). I don’t want a God I can completely comprehend because he would have to be smaller than my understanding. That is not even close to big enough to be in charge of the world!

Wonderful, because I can trust him. He is all-knowing, so he’s got “this”. (Fill in the blank for whatever the need is.)

So it comes down to whether I want to run away in fear, or whether I stay, completely known, pursuing him with the promise of seeing even greater things.


2 Responses to “I See You”

  1. Jan Doublestein October 26, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    Cathy, a lot of this is almost poetry, the words are so lovely together πŸ™‚

    (The message is meaningful too! : )

    On Sat, Oct 26, 2013 at 11:43 AM, worship devo

    • cathyhowie October 28, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

      Thanks for your gracious encouragement, Jan!

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