For the past couple of days, I have been talking to you about Mary and asking you to consider whether she more than loved Jesus, whether she was in love with Him. It's probably silly, maybe even sacrilege, but I promised I was going somewhere, and today, I want to tell you where I was going.
Do you love Jesus? What does it look like for you to love Jesus?
It's something that's gnawed on me for awhile, something I've reflected on in worship, something I've touched on in my new book (just released - have you read Unfolded Hands yet?). All of our worship, all of our acts of devotion, the interactions we have with our God are largely disconnected from Him. We have all these forms and structures and ways of doing things when we come before Him that keep us from actually seeing Him.
Think about when you pray. You bow your head. Then what are you looking at? Right. Nothing, because you have also closed your eyes. You've folded your hands. How can you touch Him? In worship, you see someone standing in praise. They raise a hand to the Lord...and close their eyes. Can you even see Him? In painstaking moments, we come before the Lord and bow down before Him. He's starting to look an awful lot like carpet, isn't He? When was the last time you even looked at Him?
That is what I'm really talking about. I'm talking about a culture that claims to love Jesus but never sees Him. I'm talking about a people who love Him from a distance, from a form and a posture and a holy structure but not from a holy presence. And I think that's why it's fun to think about Mary being in love with Him.
It reminds me to be in love with Him.
When you're in love with someone, you're looking to him. Or at least looking at him. You're hoping to find that he's looking right back. You're hoping to have that moment of silent exchange, eyes for just a second locking on another set of eyes and knowing that at that very second, you are each thinking of each other. Even if just in passing. That's the kind of love that sends shivers down your spine. That's the kind of love that makes you tingle. That's the kind of love that's really love and more than worship.
Which isn't to say we aren't supposed to worship God. We are. But if you only worship Him, He is nothing more than an idol in your life. He's not your God; how could He be? He's the object of your affection, but you have forgotten that you are His.
When you're in love with Jesus, you're looking at Him. You're seeing Him looking back at you. You understand that He sees you, He notices you. Maybe you're trying to make Him love you, trying to make Him notice. Maybe you're putting yourself out there specifically so He will see. That's not the point. When you catch His eye, you know all of that was unnecessary. Because when you see Him looking at you looking at Him, when you share that silent exchange of eyes locked on one another, you realize He was already thinking of you. At that very second, you are each thinking of each other. It sends a shiver down your spine. It makes you tingle. It's love.
And you see it in His eyes, too. You see in Him the same look you've been practicing in the mirror, the same coy smile you've been working on, the same glimmer of hope that one day, He might notice you. Might even love you. You see Him looking back at you with that very same look, smiling just a little but sheepishly, wanting to coyly look away but taking those few seconds to linger on your eyes until He knows you've seen Him, hoping to hear you speak but trembling at what your voice must sound like. He's in love with you, and He's dreaming of that day when your eyes will catch and He will know that you're in love with Him.
That moment changes everything. When you see in Him the hope of love as you exude that same hope and your eyes come up to meet and you're looking into each other's very souls and sharing that moment and in an instant, He knows, "She loves me," and in an instant, you know, "He always has." It's indescribable.
So I think it's important to love Jesus, sure. But I think it's more important to be in love with Him. It reminds you to look up more often, to keep your eyes on Him, to keep watching to see what He will do. It invites you into this holy moment where your eyes lock for just one second and you know, deeply, with a penetrating truth, that He already loves you back. In fact, He loved you first.