If, then, the resurrected Jesus was not even recognized for what He looked like, but for the way that He lived and loved in relationship with even those who were closest to Him, what in the world makes you think you ought to spend your life worried about all the external things that simply don't matter? If no one is going to show up to your funeral and talk about your jean size and no one is going to recognize your nose if you're standing right next to them, isn't it time you moved on to the things that matter?
The truth is that we, like Jesus, are always going to be known - and remembered - more for our heart than for anything else.
Those we love, those who are closest to us, are going to recognize us best when we call them by name. When we draw upon the familiarity that we have with them and can speak just a syllable or two and they can hear the love and affection in our voices, that special place that they hold in our hearts. That's what's going to make them turn their head and look at us.
It is when we speak truth to them and tell them the stories that lead to our togetherness that their eyes will be opened and they'll feel strangely warm, tingling all over at knowing and being known just from our being authentically present with them.
It is when we throw a few fish on the fire and prepare a delicious meal to serve together, when we break bread with them and bless it...that we bless them. That we come into the intimacy that reveals all of us, together. That we are recognized for that closeness that we have always shared, how we are so woven together into each others' lives.
It is when we help them discover the bounty of blessings that is just on the other side of their boat, when we call out to them from the safe places and draw them home, when we show up at just the moment they most need to hear from us, that's how our friends and family know us.
These are the things that mark our lives. The real things. This is how the world recognizes us. Not by what we look like or what we're wearing or how our hair looks today or whether our skin is clear or even when we had our last cigarette or our last drink. This world recognizes us the same way they recognized Jesus -
By our love.
And I'm pretty sure I'm not the first person to tell you that. But maybe, just maybe, now that we've seen how it was true even for Jesus, maybe you'll understand that it's true for you, too.