Recognizing Jesus: Lectionary Reflections on John 1:43-51

Dr. Wayne Dyer, in his PBS series "The Power of Intention," quotes Mother Teresa's answer when someone asked her, "What do you do all day walking the streets of Calcutta?" She said, "I behold Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God, in every face I see."

A well-known poem by Frank B. Whitney, founder of Daily Word magazine is a good guide to practicing our facial recognition skills.

I behold the Christ in You,
Here the life of God I see;
I can see a great peace too,
I can see you whole and free.

I behold the Christ in you.
I can see this as you walk;
I see this in all you do,
I can see this as you talk.

I behold God's love expressed,
I can see you filled with power;
I can see you ever blessed,
See Christ in you hour by hour.

I behold the Christ in you,
I can see that perfect one;
Led by God in all you do,
I can see God's work is done

After Jesus' resurrection, Mary does not recognize him in the garden, mistaking him for the gardener, until he calls her by name (20:16). He already knows her. They have met many times before. So an appropriate response from Mary would not be to put out her hand to shake his and to say, "Good morning. My name is Mary. I don't believe we've met." An appropriate response for her and for us is, "I recognize you. I believe we have met many time before."

1/9/2012 5:00:00 AM
Alyce McKenzie
About Alyce McKenzie
Alyce M. McKenzie is the George W. and Nell Ayers Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.