Others have heard that that longed-for Presence is to be found in religious buildings, or special places, and if they can only get to those specific locations they can meet with Him. And so many take time out to make pilgrimages, or attend special services in the hope of meeting God.
Undoubtedly there are places were His Presence is palpable, and we talk of it being manifest. But what about those who don’t live in reach of such a place, or can’t spend 24 hours a day in a religious building? (That’s all of us!) How do ordinary people experience the living God in the routine of their everyday lives?
The resurrection stories give some answers. We read that after Jesus rose from the dead, many people had encounters with the risen Christ. What is interesting is that there is no record of Him appearing in the temple or the synagogues, or places of religious significance, and He didn’t appear to the religious or civil authorities (Now that’s something to ponder….)
Instead He appeared to ordinary people in very ordinary circumstances: in a garden [John 20:10-18]; on a journey [Luke 24:13-29]; in homes [John 20:26-30]; during meals [Luke 24:30-32, John 21:7-14]; in a rural backwater[Matthew 28: 7-10, 16-20], on a hillside [Matthew 28: 16-20]; at work [John 21:1-6]; and in the city [Luke 24; 45-51].
When Jesus was born it wasn’t in the kind of place people might have expected, His arrival wasn’t heralded with human pomp and circumstance, instead He came quietly to the commonplace, and the first people to see Him were very unremarkable working men. And although the angels made quite a racket, it seems that most people were oblivious. If the message of Christmas is that God comes down to meet us where we are; the message of Easter is exactly the same: the risen Christ wants to meet us in the everyday circumstances of our lives. His mission is to sanctify and transform the commonplace.
We worship a God who will not be confined to special times, seasons and places. The resurrected Christ offers a transformational encounter to all who will welcome Him. His manifest presence is available to you and me in the stuff of life, filling the familiar with heaven.
If anyone hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.
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