I was having a ‘happy’ time just wandering around minding my own business when this man comes over to me with a shirt in hand complaining that it had a label indicating the chest size but not the neck measurements. ‘Oh, is that right’, I said. ‘Yes’, he replied, ‘So what do you think I should do?’
Well, as our acquaintance was less than a minute old I thought this rather odd being entrusted so soon in our unexpected friendship with his wardrobe requirements!
Eventually – well after another fifteen seconds – I had to put him out of his misery and tell him I too was a customer! His remorse was instant as he apologised profusely telling me he thought I was staff. I’m still trying to work out why!!
There are a couple of cases of mistaken identity to be found in the Easter story.
On the Emmaus road the dejected followers of Jesus spent the entire journey thinking they were speaking to a stranger rather than their Lord. And most strikingly, perhaps, is Mary at the Garden Tomb supposing that her early morning conversation was with the ‘gardener’.
Jesus turned up – but, for a time at least, wasn’t recognised.
Maybe it’s not too different today. We look for God in cathedrals and chapels yet so often miss his incarnational presence in the so called ‘ordinary’ and ‘mundane’ aspects of our lives.
So, if I see you in Marks and Spencer – I still don’t know the equivalent neck measurements to chest sizes – so its better if you ask someone else!