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“And I ask not only for these disciples, but also for all those who will one day believe in me through their message. I pray for them all to be joined together as one even as you and I, Father, are joined together as one. I pray for them to become one with us so that the world will recognize that you sent me.”

Jesus’ prayer in John 17:20-21


When the shine fades and the glitter dims. When the novelty is gone and the newness settles, you are left with the substance of the thing. A familiarity settles in, cozying up against your spirit like a child in assurance. Unsteady self awareness is replaced by a deep comforting current, flowing from raw reality. 


Rawness. The framework of the thing. The bones of it.  Sturdy and sure. Unmoving and unglamorous. That’s the stuff of love. That’s where intimacy is grown, fingering its roots down into the dirt of our souls. Over days and months and years and decades. The sun sends its fiery rays, the rain pours in torrents, the wind gropes and pulls with threatening force. But the roots have caught hold now, deep in the soil. Out of the sight of man and beast. Down in the bowels of the soul, hidden in the dirt. There in the rocks and the mud and black earth Intimacy grows. Not up in the treetops where the view is stunning and the air is fresh. That has its own beauty, but it is not the stuff of intimacy. 


No, intimacy runs deep and takes a very, very long time to develop. A twisting, writhing persistent thing is intimacy, stubborn and quiet. Have you ever pulled up a flower by the roots? The blossom is delicate and beautiful, a work of art that catches the eye of every passerby. But the roots…they are ugly, twisted, mangled things, covered in dirt and grime. No one looks at them in awe and admiration. But that is where the life of the flower is. In the darkness and the ugly dirtiness. That is intimacy. The roots that dig through the dirt to hold that beautiful blossoming soul upright. 


Intimacy is not afraid of the dirt and the darkness, it embraces them, grows in them, wraps them up in strong arms and says “This, this is where I will gather nutrients and strength.” We try to hide our dirt and darkness beneath smiling blossoms and distractingly beautiful colors but Intimacy delves deep. For you cannot have the flowers, and the colors and the blossoms without that thing that rolls up its sleeves plunges in with a smile to create the framework, the foundation, beneath the exterior.


Intimacy is a messy business. Its nature demands it to be, for by nature it will do whatever it takes to get to the thing it aimed at. 


God was desperate for intimacy with us, so desperate He sent His Son to be incarnated in humanity and bring us back into that intimacy with Himself. Not only that but the Father wants that same unity to exist amongst all His sons and daughters. And what good Father would not want such a thing? We fear that though. We fear vulnerability with others, closeness. We fear getting hurt or doing something wrong. But rest assured, the Fathers heart is for us all to experience that messy business of intimacy with Himself and with those around us.

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