So he set off and went to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.

Luke 15:20

I had a dream about the Parable of the Compassionate Father (Luke 15:11-32). It was vivid and emotional.

Yesterday, during prayers, I thought of the above verse: the intimacy that the father shows to his returning son. People sometimes (not to me!) sign their emails, “Hugs and kisses”, and that is what is happening here.

I can honestly say that I do not remember the last time someone hugged me. Alas, I do remember the last time someone kissed me. I thought I had a relationship in which I could in an earthly sense experience the above intimacy. Where someone had compassion on me (and my many failings) and initiated intimacy because of that compassion. I think I have always searched for this type of intimacy.

The insight the dream gave me (or maybe the reflection afterwards) is that I cannot find that type of intimacy in people. Only in Jesus! I can attempt to be close to people – and I realise that I am a person people do not get close to – but my desire for intimacy will only find fulfilment in Jesus.

So the paradoxical is that in choosing Jesus, desiring him alone, and “being alone” (that is, apart from people), I find that which I have been searching for all my life. And, in return, my relationship with people will be more intimate because of Jesus.

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