There are no ordinary days in life if we have the willingness and take the opportunity to look with extraordinary eyes. I am blessed to interact with extraordinary people every day in my work life and elsewhere. I have become more aware of that fact lately because of a deeply meaningful – as well as often hilarious – book called Life Is A Verb by Patti Digh. I won’t even try to describe the book as it is so unique but I do know that it could be the prompt for a lifetime of journaling if one were serious and consistent enough to commit to it. We, the day and evening groups, are just touching the surface in eight sessions but are finding in our conversations a recognition of similarity among us as well as a welcome diversity that stretches us to new heights of understanding of each other and beyond. It is, in a wonderful way, an experience of enlightenment.
Yesterday, as I was waiting for the evening group to arrive, I had the privilege of encounter with another small band of brothers and sisters. Most of the names and faces were known to me – some for many years – as faithful witnesses and workers for justice and peace in our community. They had gathered at the First Congregational Church, the site of my office, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The ritual was simple and I was grateful for their welcome to join them outside for the ringing of the huge bell in the churchyard. We took turns striking the bell with a large mallet 39 times, Dr. King’s age at the time of his death. Each person then added a statement – as diverse as we are – about Dr. King’s influence and a hope for our country going forward. I was moved and honored to be among such an extraordinarily faithful people.
In today’s gospel, Jesus appears to his disciples in his resurrected body, assuring them that he is a real person, not a ghost. He showed them his hands and feet and asked for food which he ate in the normal way of a human. As I reflect on my experience of the marvelous companions given to me just yesterday, I have a certainty that I have met the face of Jesus, still shining in the bodily persons of those individuals. That is, for me, a true and recognizable awareness of the real and continuing presence of Christ in the world – the Easter mystery revealed in our day.