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  • Writer's pictureThe Rev. Beth Knowlton

Being Known in Community

“O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of your people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calls us each by name, and follow where he leads; who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Easter

As I continue reflecting on the joy we shared during Holy Week and Easter, the images that keep emerging are the faces as we gathered. The worship was moving, the music was spectacular, the flowers added their joy - but it is the faces that linger. Whether it was faces illumined by the fire in Travis Park, the faces as people received communion, or the damp faces of those baptized both on Easter Day and the following Sunday. Church is about the people.

Our results from the Renewal Works survey have highlighted our desire to go deeper in our spiritual journey with God. Set within that desire is the awareness that we do this in community. We long to know and be known. Our adult and youth forum this past semester included time in table conversation so we may learn with one another and share in deeper ways. Easter season is replete with stories of how the disciples came to recognize the Risen Lord. Most of those appearances came when the disciples were gathered with one another. Recognition is enhanced when we share our perspectives and expand our viewpoints.

What does this have to do with Good Shepherd Sunday, which we always celebrate the fourth Sunday of Easter? I think we see in Jesus a reminder that we are known in deep and mysterious ways that we cannot fully comprehend. Jesus calls us by name and when we listen, we recognize the holiness of that calling. Much like Mary Magdalene recognizing Jesus as her teacher when he calls her by name that early Easter morning, we come to recognize the Christ in relationship.

Our community of St. Mark’s is a foundational place where we practice this recognition, helping us bring the gaze of recognition into all the places of our lives. Who I am in relationship to others very much reflects who I am in relationship to God. When I tend my relationship with God through prayer and spiritual practices, my relationships with others are also transformed. That cruciform patter of life - love of God and love of neighbor - is the heart of our Christian walk. When we attend to it, we become Easter people. I pray that your life is abundant with people who help you know and understand the goodness of who you are - a beloved child of God.

Peace, Beth +


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