Wednesday, December 27, 2006

to know and be known

I like descriptions of "heaven" I've read that refer to a complete (though not exhaustive and final) knowing of God and of each other.

The heterosexual act is meant to be an intimate and kind of climactic knowing of each other, or symbollic of that. This act, between the husband and wife alone, is one of expressing love (TNIV- "made love to"), and in the Hebrew means, or is expressed as to know each other, in this act. Of course much conversation or just being with each other in work and play is needed, to really get to know the other person. This physical act is meant to further that knowing in a bonding kind of way.

To know each other in a pure, nonmarried way, is to be carried on with friends in Jesus, as well as our neighbors in the world. And it goes on, to perfection in "heaven". This is a large part of what life is all about. It's to help others come to know God. And also to really get to know each other. There is no intimacy here that is reserved only for marriage. But there should be a true knowing that can begin now. And the intimacy that we will know, though not in the physical act married people experience now, will be surely be far deeper then.

As I've tried to write on this, I'm reminded of David's words in Psalm 131. I have plenty to learn from others on this subject now. And we surely all have plenty to learn from God, and a whole new experience of this awaiting us in the life to come.

In blogging I do like to try to get to know people. This is not easy, since blogging can never replace sipping coffee with someone. But it's good for me, as far as it goes.

All of this is just a taste of what it means to be in communion in the love life of the Trinity. We begin that experience now, in Jesus and with each other. Someday we will be immersed in it, and then we will know on a personal, relational level, just as God knows us now.

What thought or slant might you share on this?


Mark Goodyear said...

Here's my response:

Intimacy demands vulnerability.

I've been talking with a small-group guru in San Antonio recently. He said vulnerability and intimacy also require community. I need others to make me vulnerable, to cut through my nonsense and call me to show my cards. When I show my cards, we have a chance to pursue honest intimacy.

But, man, it's hard to show my cards. Because I know my bluff doesn't match what is really in my hand.

To be intimate, I have to find someone I can trust to know me and still love me. That's hard. Really hard.

John Frye said...

What came to mind when I read your post was the semantic tie between "communion" and "communication"--the communi--tie. Knowing can be expressed in intimate physical bonding, but also in bonding of the spirit through speech. As we speak openly (the vulnerability that Mark speaks of in his comment above) we get to know others at a deep, life-satisfying level. Exchanging thoughts through speech is an intimate act.

Ted Gossard said...

Mark, I like your thoughts here. The group can help draw us out of ourselves in unhealthy ways, into a healthy and real expression of our true selves. But this requires the willingness on our part to do so.

I think it's important to emphasize confidentiality and have a safe place, in which vulnerability is modeled. And I think from that can come the intimacy we really need before God with each other.


Ted Gossard said...

John, Such a great thought. Yes. Makes all the sense in the world.

I'm much of the time more than willing to open my (what can be, a big) mouth. But I have to keep working at being a good listener so others can do the same. And I think God is helping me in that way. There needs to be that "give and take", I think, for the intimacy in conversation that is needed, to occur.