THIS SERIES: EASTER MEDITATIONS
For many people, God is a concept, an abstract, or at best, a far-off Being unengaged with routine human affairs; someone to be blamed in times of crisis, but never experienced in the everyday.
Alternatively, thousands 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 when 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 attend special gatherings—especially with ongoing covid-restrictions? How do ordinary people experience the living God in the routine of their everyday lives, because the cry of the human heart is that if there is a God, we want one who is present, who is close by in the stuff of life?
The stories after the resurrection 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.
DIVINE ENCOUNTERS IN THE ORDINARY STUFF OF LIFE
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock.
If anyone hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in and eat with him, and he with Me.
For many at the present time, old certainties have taken a hard knock, habitual church-related routines and comforts are not accessible, and a sense of isolation and stress has settled in the midst of an anxious world. Like the first disciples, we need to encounter our resurrected Lord in the midst of our personal circumstances and allow Him to fill us with His hope, peace and encouragement for the future.
THIS WEEK’S GRACE RHYTHM
Already a Christ-follower?
Set aside time this week to focus on our Risen Lord.
Write down a list of everything worrying you at the moment.
Don’t analyse, just write.
Get very quiet inside, and turn your heart of affection towards Him.
Lay your list down before Him, and simply tell Him you need Him.
Then wait before Him…
NEXT TIME: The resurrection stories show that on many occasions Jesus wasn’t recognised immediately—something which should encourage us! Next week’s post will focus on how to spot when the Lord is coming close.
NOW IT'S YOUR TURN:
[Photo credits: Eberhard Grossgasteiger (cloud); Mads Schmidt Rasmussen (person);
Mimi Thian (laptop) @ Unsplash, with thanks]
Da Kraplak (type writer);
Merakist (social media)
@ Unsplash, with thanks]
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