“You look so much like your mother!”
This is a phrase I’m accustomed to hearing. Especially now, as a young pastor meeting colleagues in our Methodist connection who have known my (also-clergy) mother for years, this is a common and expected conversation piece. We both have dark, curly hair, the same green eyes, a similar smile. We are about the same height and even have similar sounding voice patterns. There is no denying I am my mother’s daughter.
While my mother sometimes worries that I will tire of hearing how alike we appear, it’s something that I appreciate about being family—these tangible markers of belonging. I love seeing you all come through the doors on a Sunday with your children or parents or siblings and getting to see your eyes or nose or height resonating in the person standing beside you. This kind of similarity—these echoes—between us seem to bind us to one another at the deepest level.
Bearing likeness to one another can, of course, show up in a lot of ways within families and close communities. My cousins have grown up in a house with very quick-witted parents, and you can tell they are Gerstins by their one-liners. Families and close communities develop their own idioms, rituals, expectations, and ways of relating that not only help establish familiarity and comfort within, but help those outside to identify them as distinct from all others.
In our text this week, the disciples anxiously ask Jesus to show God to them—to be given assurance of who God is so they might be in relationship with God. Jesus responds saying that because they have seen him, they have seen God. The family resemblance is strong.
This week, as we gather together in worship, carrying our own anxieties about the world and our future, hoping to see and hear again the compassion, justice, mercy, and grace of Jesus, may we be reminded of the image and likeness we also bear as children of God and followers of Christ. May we gather in thanksgiving that God has been made known to us in Christ, that we are bound together by Christ’s love, and that our family resemblance may just be the hope we need now.
I look forward to seeing you (and your mothers!) on Sunday.