United Church of Christ

Face to Face

Although I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink; instead I hope to come to you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete. - 2 John 1:12 (NRSV)

I love the written word. Love the written word.

Some of my favorite images for Christ expand upon the Gospel of John’s Word Made Flesh: the Word Made Verb, the Word Made Ink, the Word Made Verse. Wordplay is my happy place.

The Word that becomes verb is active and adventurous.

The Word that becomes ink is purposeful, pointed.

The Word that is stylized in verse is beautiful and elusive.

The Word when written can swell or break hearts, uplift or devastate lives, comfort or isolate the soul.

The Word is a wonder.

My love for the written word not only extends to my relationship with the Holy but also to my relationship with you. I’m content—delighted, even—to relate to you through the written word. A text rather than a phone call. An email rather than a meeting. A well-crafted, edited, typed-out thought rather than whatever jumble of words might fall off my tongue during an in-person conversation. I will lose sleep over those face-to-face words if they are inadequate in the moment.

Nevertheless, all the written words in the world cannot substitute for the poignancy of personal interaction. The humility of breath in shared space. The interpretation of body language. The fragility of disagreement; the relief of affirmation. The hopes, the fears, the possibilities that cannot be realized unless we are in the same space.

The written word can only describe it. Coming together completes it.

Prayer
“Here, o my Lord, I see thee face to face.” (H. Bonar) May words never come between us.

dd-hackenberg.jpgAbout the Author
Rachel Hackenberg serves on the national staff for the United Church of Christ. She is the author of Writing to God and Sacred Pause, among other titles. Her blog is Faith and Water.

Please review our Community Guidelines before posting a comment. If you have any questions, contact us.