Clergy Notes — Easter 3, April 23, 2023

I lost my voice quite suddenly this past week. It was curious for me to discover how much I rely upon it to interact with the world and express myself, even when I am alone. Apart from not being able to talk to others (or myself!) I could not pray above a whisper, or sing, or laugh… things which I consider to be important parts of my identity. Presuming it was a temporary ailment, I nevertheless wondered: how would I express myself as ‘me’ if I could not speak? And in a larger sense, how is our identity revealed to others when things we rely upon are changed or removed?

In the accounts of the resurrection, it is always something different (and rarely the obvious!) which allows the disciples to recognize Jesus. For Mary Magdalene it is when he says her name. I wonder if – even if his voice is different somehow – she recognizes a familiar lilt in the way he says it, having heard him say it so many times before. For the disciples on the road to Emmaus, it is not until Jesus breaks the bread that they recognize him, though he has been with them all along. Perhaps, having watched him make those same gestures so many times before, they recognize some unique way he moves his hands; a gesture; or a familiar posture.

I found myself thinking about the little things – many of which we may not even notice – that identify us to those who know us well. The key is that they know us well. They spend time with us. They are intimately familiar with our little habits and movements. They know us because they love us.

I wonder, do we know Jesus that well? Do we listen for his voice in the stranger? Do we sense his presence in the outcast? Do we see that he is already walking beside us, waiting for us to invite him to stay with us, just a little while longer?

Mother Amanda

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