The TV sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” has popularized the use of the word “Doppelgänger” as a term to describe finding a ‘double,’ an erie but awesome look alike. It is a word that causes you to use both lips and tongue to say it aloud and makes you want to smile just saying it. The TV sitcom uses it to describe finding a look alike of their friends such as Vancouver actress Cobie Smulders who plays television reporter Robin Scherbatsky, also a Canadian. Take for example Cobie Smulder (Robin), Kirstie – my son’s girlfriend, and Meghan Fox. Given the right hairstyle and pose – very similar.
In my travels I frequently come across strangers who look like someone I know. Over the years have used these occurences as a prompt to pray for my friends. Now I have name for it. I have recently expanded my travel game to include taking a photo of the doppelgänger and then sending it to my friend with the location of where I am at the time and a note to say that I paused to pray for them.
Recently I noticed a fellow in the balcony of a church in New York that looked like my friend David – and I paused to pray for him.
In an airport I saw a fellow that reminded me of my friend Eli Hernadez so I also offered up a prayer for him. (Interestingly I received a Blackberry message from him just minutes later.)
This little reminder to pray has increased my intercession for others – and it is fun. Try it.
I knocked on the door then opened it announcing my arrival with “Hello” with the ‘..lo’ drawn out and sounding musical.
“Gampa.Gampa” came squeals of delight accompanied by the sound of feet running towards me. My two ‘walking’ grandsons, Landon (3) and Liam (1) rushed towards me. Landon imitating the moves of a hockey player with his socks sliding on the wood floor and Liam walking carefully – trying not to smile so broadly that his soother would fall out – with his arms upheld . This is the universal sign language for ‘pick me up and hug me Grandpa’.
Simply the sound of my voice was enough recognition for us to embrace in this little love-fest at the door.
Don’t we love being recognized by those who love us?
Recognized By Your Love
“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” —John 13:35
This was the test Jesus said would distinguish his followers. We would be recognized by our love for one another. The Bible gets more specific on the ‘love’ we are to show. To present or show this ‘love’ succinctly we are instructed “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Howard Lawrence and I had a chance to hang out together in Phoenix and I enjoyed discussing neighborhoods. He is an Arrow leader who directs the Neighbourhood Life emphasis of Forge particularly attending to what God is up to in our neighborhoods.
Who is your neighbor?
The word comes to us from an old english term, nēahgebūr – from nēah [nigh, near] + gebūr [inhabitant]. There is no way of dodging the fact that if you are a follower of Jesus you should be known by your love, and we must be engaged in loving those who live near you.
In our developing of leaders in the Arrow Leadership Program we remind them of this need for recognition by love, and add that our ‘first neighbor’ is actually your family – spouse and children, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews – and of course grandchildren.
Howard and I reflected on how the actions and expectations of ‘the church’ frequently mitigate against our doing just that. It has left me reflecting on how Arrow might encourage Christian leaders to engage their personal communities and empower those they influence to do the same. A key to this being successful is that those who engage their neighbors are spiritually formed by Christ – mature and transparent enough to handle the love.
What do you think? I’d like reading your thoughts.
Would your neighbors say that you are a doppelgänger for Jesus?