He looks at them with kindness in his eyes, and strength in his gaze. They come at him so often, with their complaints, desires, hopes, frustration. Wanting him to be something, something they can shape, steer, make their own. But he is too big for their boxes, too extraordinary for their small ideas. So he offers them his own questions. Draws them out, calls them to look deeper. To discover more. To push through the rumours and smoke screens. He is interested in them, not merely in the front that they present. And so his questions come from his longing to help them grow, change, to build on a more secure foundation. To draw them out, to begin a conversation. Further the relationship. To discover rock for the stormy moments. What do you want me to do for you? Who is your neighbour? What is truth? What were you talking about with each other? Have you never read the ancient writings? Who do you say I am? Do you love me?
And he tells his stories, offers them tales full of twists and turns. As if holding up a mirror so they can see themselves. Where are they today in the tale of two builders? In the story about seed falling on hard land and receptive ground, in the soap opera about two sons longing for life, identity, security and meaning. In the shocking tale of two people praying, one with all the right punctuation and phrases, yet adrift in a sea of self-righteousness, the other lost for words and staring at their muck-strewn shoes as they limp home to the welcome of a generous smiling father. And so he looks at them now, giving them every ounce of his attention and compassion, so much more than they bargained for, God with grit under his nails, the dust of life in the creases of his hands, offering them a new start for a new day.