We continue today our journey in Epiphany and we continue to discover more about who Jesus is.  For us this is the great season of light and revelation.  Both our psalm and out gospel reading point to a particular facet of God’s relationship with humanity.

I personally find psalm 139 to be one of the most beautiful in the bible.  I suppose for some it could be quite frightening.  The thought that God could know us so deeply, so intimately could be intimidating at best.  Someone having deep knowledge of us is risky; having someone who truly know us makes us vulnerable.  The deeper the knowledge, the deeper the  vulnerability, the deeper the risk. In our usual way of thinking we equate vulnerability with weakness, and if we are weak, then we are much more likely to be taken advantage of.  Not something any of us really wants.  Yet, isn’t it those very times when we allow someone to get that close to us, that relationship can be at its best?  Like the friend who knows exactly what to do to help us feel better, or who chooses the perfect gift because they know what makes us  happy?  Certainly the reverse can be true.  In our worst moments, knowledge can be used as power over another.  We can use our knowledge of another to hurt them, make them dependent upon us (thereby increasing our power even further) or even destroy them.

The first time I remember really hearing psalm 139, was at a worship service of a young adult group I used to belong to.  I was struggling at the time with issues surrounding my adoption.  At the time I was trying to work through many of the typical issues that adoptees sometimes feel, particularly feelings of abandonment.  I was also dealing with figuring out what I was going to do with my life.  It was a time of growth and searching, not just for me but many of my friends as well…probably fairly typical for many 20 somethings at the time.  In talking with our priest who led the group, we spoke of the incredible images in this psalm.  I remember him telling me that true self esteem, true feelings of self worth were not ones that we could manufacture for ourselves or each other. No amount of money, prestige, or job security was going to provide us with the feelings of self worth that we desperately needed.  We were told that God was the only one who could give us that.  Human beings, no matter how well intentioned, would always let us down.  In dealing with issues surrounding my adoption, I certainly felt let down by all sorts of people.  I am sure that those feelings affected me in all kinds of ways, but especially in  feelings of self worth.  Then I heard those beautiful verses:    For it was you who formed my inward parts;  you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works;that I know very well.  My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.

In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed. 

Talk about a cosmic shot in the arm.  Even before we are born God knows us and loves us.  The God who created the heavens and the earth, created each one of us with the same love and Spirit involved in the creation of the world.  Such incomprehensible power and majesty and yet it is that God who made me and knows me better than I know myself.  It’s a knowledge that none of us can deceive or hide from, a knowledge that knows everything, good, bad or indifferent; knowledge that loves us in spite of the bad and the indifferent.  God loves because it is the essence of who God is and it is love that we are created from. 

Nathaniel asks Jesus how he came to know him.  Jesus sees him with God’s eyes and with God’s knowledge.  Fortunately for those early followers and for us, that knowledge leads to relationship not to abandonment.  We can all rest in the wonderfully good news that Jesus knows us even on our worst days and chooses to love and be with us anyway.  It is a love that knows much, gives much, and desires much.  We will let God down; but God has promised never to leave us, no matter what we do or where we are.

May our self worth always be realized in God’s eyes and in God’s love and grace.