Psalm 105; I Macc 4:1-25; Revelation 21:22-22:5; Matthew 18:1-9
His name on my forehead. All my life I’d had marks on my head, visible to and noted by everyone. In high school, it was “Mr Wilson’s son, nice enough to get invited to parties but not a lot of fun.” In Germany, it was “that guy whose shoes scream American but speaks well enough to be Dutch.” In my birth family, I’m the quiet one who is smart enough but has common sense or street savvy. In every group I’ve been a part of, I’ve been assigned a role, like I had a resume tattooed on my forehead. We do that to one another, all of us all the time. We assign roles and, while we may allow those roles to evolve and change over time, for the most part handle one another in accordance with the same.
What would it be like if the only role I assigned you, or you me, was the cross marked on our heads at baptism? If we saw in one another the Body of Christ and nothing else? If we honored one another the way we hope to honor Jesus? Listened to the silly and uninformed for the hints of Jesus in their speech, honored the annoying and clingy as if they were about to burst into parable, expected miracles from the weak in faith and wisdom from babes in arms? Sure, sometimes we’d be disappointed–but I wonder if we’d even more often be surprised (in dear CS Lewis’ words) by joy. If looking for wonder we might see it more often. If looking for holiness we might catch even deeper glimpses of it in unexpected corners.
When we write one another off in advance, we stop looking. And how then can we see? Might ought be an interesting Advent discipline: each day, to try to see Jesus in the person in front of me…