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Isaiah 53:1 – Who believes what we've heard and seen? Who would have thought that God's saving power would look like this?" (MSG)
Walking together, hand-in-hand, over the bridge, rain slowly drenching our pant legs, Grace and I are making our way to Giant Tiger to buy her Saturday treat. I prattle on about the obsession of the day, to satisfy her desire for constant reinforcement of the imagined scenario: Gloria and Monica from "Touched by an Angel" coming to the adult day program at the Sunbeam centre, Grace introducing them to staff Michelle and Karen, and everyone playing bingo together. I repeat these words that she is unable to articulate but well understands.
Looking up, I see an oncoming pedestrian: a thin, dark-haired stranger coming purposefully but unhurriedly towards us. I do the split-second mental categorizing to place him as a man of modest resources, perhaps limited to the wits to survive each day, then use the meagre information my senses have given me to make a decision: to greet or not to greet? Yes, I think, the risk is small. Why not give eye contact, smile, and say hello? Now, he is near enough that I can see his red face like moulded plastic — it looks almost as if it had imploded on itself, leaving his features without symmetry. He beats me to the punch by directing his dark little eyes right at Grace and me, smiling to show stained teeth arranged in as unorthodox a manner as his face. Suddenly the words of the prophet are made flesh to me: "He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." (Isaiah 53:2 KJV)
To my brief "Hello", the stranger responds, "It's good to see you."
What kind of thing is that for a stranger to say? "Nice day", with sarcasm, or "At least it isn't snow", or, "Good morning" — any of these would have been expected. But "It's good to see you"?
And then, I hear the words of the benediction my husband pronounces each Sunday: "May you see the face of Christ in everyone you meet." A shiver of energy runs through me, and I recognize, once again, the face of the Christ.
And then, he has passed us. We continue on our way, Grace unaware of all that has transpired. She sees the face of Christ routinely and is never surprised.
Prayer: God of surprises, we want to see You for who You really are. Help us not to miss Your unexpected encounters with us. In Christ, amen.
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