14th April 2023

We were once walking through King’s College Cambridge. Keith suddenly said very quietly “Look who’s there!” I looked and saw an ordinary looking chap in grey trousers and a patterned Icelandic sweater. We walked past and I said I had no idea who that was. It was Cardinal Hume.

Then there was the time we went for a drink in a pub in the Lake District. It was very crowded as there had been a local premier of the film “Over the Lake” about Donald Campbell’s speed record attempts for the locals who had taken part. Eventually we found two seats, had our drink and walked back up the hill to where we were staying. Halfway up the hill it dawned on us that we had been sitting next to Antony Hopkins who had been playing Donald Campbell. (Silence of the Lambs etc.)

Because we did not expect to see him, neither of us recognised him.

For me this makes sense of the resurrection stories of encounters with Jesus, particularly Mary Magdalene and the gardener and my favourite, the walk to Emmaus. You meet someone in a place where your common sense says their presence is, if not impossible, then extremely unlikely. So you do not immediately recognise them.

But I wonder whether I wander through life not recognising God’s work because I do not expect anything to happen.

Or worse, I wander along forgetting Christ’s promise that “I am with you always”.

Margaret Clements