The strawberry mark of brotherhood (July 21, 2010)

I did an interesting exercise the other day based on the following passage from Helen’s original notes. It says that the miracle “is a way of perceiving the universal mark of God in them. This is the true ‘strawberry mark’ of brotherhood.” This passage comes alive if you understand the “strawberry mark” reference. But I’ll let my exercise explain that.

Imagine that you had a brother who was lost to your family at a very young age. No one knows what happened to this brother or even if he’s still alive. The only way he could be identified now is by a strawberry mark, a raised red birthmark present on his forearm, in the shape of a flying bird, we’ll say. Even though it’s been many years since he was lost, the family, including yourself, has never gotten over it and clings to the hope that one day he will be found.

Now, while in a public place, mentally pick out a stranger who is roughly in your age group. Imagine that you are standing next to this stranger and happen to catch sight of his forearm, where you see the exact strawberry mark I mentioned above, in the exact right shape and exact right place. In a rush of emotion, you realize that this is your long-lost brother, the one you have longed to be reunited with for so many years. How would you now see this person? Would you see him anything like how you did when he was merely a random stranger?

Now take it a step further. Realize that this is not just the strawberry mark of brotherhood. Imagine that this is actually the “mark of God.” It was prophesied long ago that this mark would identify the bearer of it as being literally the Son of God. And the person next to you, your long-lost brother, has this mark. It is physical proof that he is the Son of God on earth. Now how would you see him?

Now try to expand this to others. Look at someone else and imagine that she has the same mark, and feel your perception of her shift accordingly. Repeat this with other people until you slowly realize that everyone, including you, carries this mark. Everyone is your long-lost brother. Everyone is a Son of your heavenly Father. And you are all united as beloved members of one vast yet extremely close-knit family.

I really encourage you to try this. I found it surprisingly powerful. I hope you will, too.

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