I guess it depends on where we are in this sometimes amazing, often confusing, maybe mundane or heart-wrenching journey of life. I think in the beginning that question can send a little shiver up the back of our necks. Intimacy with God? Yikes. God is just a Big Person, and we're like little kids in the Principal's office. Intimacy isn't in the vocabulary yet.
As we mature and "find ourselves," maybe we see God differently. But we're afraid that He will take over, take all of me, in the relationship. "Be all demanding and stuff." What about my freedom, my personality, my style? Will there be anything left in me but a bland sort of niceness? Will God just pour "holiness" into the mold of my being while the flavor that is me slowly dissipates?
"Oh, yeah. He used to be so much fun. Then he became.... a Christian."
I think in our American culture, so focused on ME that we forget about the OTHER, the idea of becoming holy somehow feels like an affront to our freedom. In our minds, becoming holy could even connote becoming less human. Closeness with God equates with far-ness from fun.
Now if all we've got is this skewed vision, I would affirm those fears. I didn't want to give in when I first heard the Divine Whisper, slipping through the scenes of Luke Skywalker watching the suns set, or in the mystical melodies of John Williams, or the sculptured and ethereal beauties of the Sistine Chapel. For the above reasons and for more, I was a little nervous about leaping into the arms of this unearthly Love. Does this resonate with anyone?
I think through fear of losing ourselves in a relationship with God, we then fail to really give ourselves fully to anyone. We end up stagnating in a pool of doubt, giving part of hearts but not all, or worse, we go through relationships grasping instead of trusting that love will be given.
In those classic lines from the film The Wedding Singer... We give up on this idea of selfless love. Robbie decides to live footloose and fancy free like Sammy:
Robbie: "That's it, man, starting right now, me and you are going to be free and happy the rest of our lives!"
But then a person gets to wondering if there's more to this highway than just my way.
Sammy: "I'm not happy. I'm miserable."
Robbie: "Wha - what?"
Sammy: "See... I grew up idolizing guys like Fonzie and Vinnie Barbarino because they got a lot of chicks. You know what happened to Fonzie and Vinnie Barbarino?"
Robbie: "Yeah, I read that Fonzie wants to be a director and Barbarino, I think... the mechanical bull movie? I didn't see it yet."
Sammy: "Their shows got canceled. Because no one wants to see a fifty-year-old guy hitting on chicks."
Robbie: "So what are you saying?"
Sammy: "What I'm saying is all I really want is someone to hold me and tell me that everything is going to be all right."
There it is.
Read Scripture. All He wants is to gather us in like a mother hen gathers her chicks. Who made the love we want afterall? Who set it swirling into time and space, tumbling straight into the world from the mystical Heart of the Trinity?
When we're quiet and alone, we can get those deep thoughts. You might come up with an answer that sounds like the one Augustine whispered to himself way back in the 4th century (the human heart never changes). "The deepest desire of my heart is to see another and to be seen by that other person."
So we can let Him in. In fact, if we want to really know love, we must let Him in. And then when we hear a gospel like today's, we can smile:
"The mother of Jesus and his brothers arrived at the house. Standing outside, they sent word to Jesus and called him. A crowd seated around him told him, "Your mother and your brothers and your sisters are outside asking for you." But he said to them in reply, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" And looking around at those seated in the circle he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother."
- Mark 3:31-35
Imagine being one of those people gathered around Him, in the dusky twilight of the Judean hills, when those words of Divine Intimacy first fell from His lips... When Love Divine breathed through our biology, and we could touch theology!
Today, I am invited into this circle. I too can sit before Him, in the light of this Face; the face of the man who entered into our human family to lift us up to His Divine Family. That Family is my true home, that Love is my destiny. Come Lord Jesus...