In the biblical tradition, we only seem to know God by relating to God face to face, almost as if God refuses to be known apart from love. It is all about relationship. As Martin Buber (1878-1965), the Jewish philosopher mystic, put it, “All real living is meeting.”  It is the “face to face” religion that began with Moses (see Exodus 33:11). The face of human suffering is the same whether it belongs to a Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Jew, or Christian, to a person who’s gay or straight, who’s a believer or an unbeliever. If we don’t see this, it’s because we haven’t risked looking into the suffering face of another.
In Jesus we see, but we did not see, that:
- God is One and for all.
- God is not subject to any group ownership or personal manipulation.
- God is available as a free gift, not through any sacrificial system (which only strengthens the ego).
- God needs no victims and creates no victims, but false religion always does.
Jesus suffers in solidarity with all humanity. He refuses to project his suffering elsewhere or blame others.
.. Jesus thus personifies the divine nature. He quotes the minor prophet Hosea in several contexts: “Go and learn the meaning of the words: Mercy is what pleases me, not your sacrifices” (Matthew 9:13, 12:7). We offer our “sacrifices” to a distant and demanding God. We return love to a God who is intimate and merciful. Persons bestow grace and freedom;
ideas, philosophies, and laws demand only compliance.