My kids love it when I tell them funny stories about my life. I was able to entertain them recently with the tale of how I met my best friend in college. Her name is Callie and we continue to be dear friends today,but this was one of the most awkward moments and my children could not believe what dorks we were. They could not believe their very social mother could be such a social disaster.
It was the first weekend of our freshman year at Frostburg State University. While most every student was sleeping off whatever they had done the night before, I woke up fairly early on a Saturday morning hungry for breakfast and not really knowing how to get breakfast. I ventured down to the lounge in our dorm and sat wondering how would I get to the dining hall. Would I have to go alone? I hated eating alone. And there came Callie. And she sat. And we sat. In silence.
I don't remember who had the brilliant idea first, but someone said, "Want to go to breakfast." The other said, "Ok." And thus commenced the longest 1/2 mile walk across the campus and down the hill to the Chesapeake Dining Hall...in silence. There were no, "Where'd you go to high school?" or "What are you majoring in?" discussions. Nothing, just silence. We then entered the dining hall which smelled like maple syrup and all you could hear were the clanging of trays and silverware.
We made our wordless way to choose our meal and then to the table, where I sad down and began to inspect the silverware. Yep, I did that. I looked at each piece of silverware with some sort of disgust as I scraped remnants of the last person's meal from my fork. I think I got up and got new silverware and then inspected again. Callie just watched me and said nothing. Then I began to eat and sniffed each bite of food before I put it in my mouth, sort of like Hawkeye Pierce from MASH. I sniffed it! In silence. We chewed and swallowed and sipped...you guessed it, in silence.
Eventually, the longest meal was over and we made our way back up the hill to our dorm and we each disappeared into our rooms. I thought there is no way this girl could ever like me, what was wrong with me? Well oddly enough and I'm not sure how, we became the best of friends. Somehow the silence was broken and we discovered each other's sense of humor. At one point in our college career we were often mistaken for each other and people would be confused when they saw us together because they thought we were the same person. We have since been in each other's weddings and Callie has held every one of my babies within hours of their birth.
So what's all this got to do with Jesus? I think many of us have had awkward introductions. Some of us were dragged to church by our parents and made to sit upright to listen to a bunch of boring confusing stuff and listen to weird music. Some people were introduced to a harsh Jesus who seemed more like a judge and jury than a kind savior. Some of us never got introduced at all but have met people who thought they were introducing us, except these people were the most hateful, miserable people on the planet. Awkward. Not how God intended us to meet his Son.
We were meant to find out that He is kind and merciful and loving. We were meant to look past the strange and sinful ways of the people around Him and just see Him. Hear His words of grace of forgiveness. Somehow, Callie was able to look past my silverware scraping and pancake sniffing self and see who I really was. With one or two more tries, we were able to meet the real friend God had waiting for us.
Christ didn't come to be harsh and hurtful. He came to have a closeness and relationship with us. Many people think Revelation is the scariest book in the Bible filled with images of destruction and wrath. But one of the best pictures of our Savior is tucked in Revelation. Revelation 3:20 says, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." Jesus just wants to dine, even if you sit in silence and don't know what to say. Or you're weird and you sniff your food. He doesn't care, he just wants to be asked to the table.