"Lord, you have searched me out; O Lord, you have known me."
This past month, I had undertaken the endeavor to visit as many people of the parish as I possibly could. I must say, I enjoyed every minute of it. It was a pleasure to get to know you all better. It was a pleasure hear your stories again. It was a pleasure to hear the stories I hadn't heard before. If there is one thing that I have learned from this endeavor, then it is that there is so much that I don't know about you, this place we find ourselves in, and even myself.
It is said that Socrates' whole method of instruction hinged upon this one single thought: the quest for knowledge and wisdom is only ever truly found in searching the edges of what you do know so that you can find out what you don't know. Let me tell you, this past month has been encounter and encounter with what I don't know about you all and this place. I didn't know that some of you were sisters. I didn't know some of the things that you have struggled with in your life. I didn't know some of those things that have truly brought you joy. As I come to the end of this one round of intentional visitation to get to know you all better, I feel so very honored and privileged to be trusted with your hopes, dreams, fears, and sorrows. I also get the feeling that I could try and try and try some more and never get at the complete bottom of who you are, and there is a beauty in that. There is a beauty in how we are so wonderfully complex creatures that cannot be reduced down into our simplest parts and be completely know by each other with no more surprises to be had as we interact with one another. For you all are truly wonderfully made.
There is also something I know that is truly wonderful as well. As much as I or any other human being would not be able to know you fully, you are fully known by God. Trust me that is a wonderful thing, even though I am sure it makes many of nervous to know just how much God knows about us. God knowing you fully means that God does have this special relationship with you, but it also means that God knows about all those dark and scary parts that we may not want to show anybody else. But know this: As much as God may have searched you out and as much as God knows all about you, God still calls out to the corners of creation, "You are wonderfully made!" Not only that, but God has seen the things we have done to other people and ourselves, God has seen the things we have not for other people and ourselves, but God the Father has still sent the Son into the world "not to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through him."
Perhaps as we continue to encounter each other in our daily lives, we should do well to remember how God has forgiven us, even as we have been fully known. Perhaps that should cause us to encounter each other with the same Grace that God has encountered us with. Maybe when we do that, we will be able to see each other more clearly as wonderful, complete, if yet complex, creatures who should be encountered with a wondrous curiosity that seeks the other out as they are and not as we think that they should be.