The Unexpected Presence of the Risen Christ
By Stephen M. Veazey, president of Community of Christ
One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” -Mark 12:28-31 NRSV
How do we open ourselves to the unexpected presence of the risen Christ?
That is the message of the Easter season as we follow the narrative of Christ’s passion, the despair of the Crucifixion, the burial, and then the incredible surprise of the Resurrection. That is the heart of the gospel message. Even though we may think an end has been reached from our human perspective, that’s not the case with God. It’s never too late for God. And you can fill in the rest of that sentence. That’s the message of resurrection.
We have stories like the Emmaus Road: the two disciples who are disappointed. They’re depressed. They feel forsaken. They’re confused. Things are not the way they thought they were or were going to be. They’ve heard this testimony of something incredible that’s happened. Christ lives again. But they’re still not aware that the living Christ is their traveling companion.
Isn’t that such a true expression of our human natures? We become so engrossed in challenges, problems, and so forth, we’re not aware of the very presence of Christ with us, who’s urging us on into a future that has already become real. We just don’t know we’re in that future yet. That principle speaks to me about our life as a church. We need to understand that Christ is walking with us and talking to us right now, asking us to be his body in a broken, confused world, to be faithful to his mission, and to not dampen our hope because Christ is our hope. And he’s with us.
How can we be faithful disciples and respond to God’s call to us in this time of resurrection and new beginnings?
We need to be together as community, to listen to one another, to continue our spiritual practices that help us be open to God’s Spirit and God’s call. To respond as we feel led. To trust the Spirit that’s always guiding the church even in the midst of difficult circumstances. I think it means as congregations, that we become communities in which the resurrected Christ comes alive. That’s the Easter season. That’s the message. That if we are the body of Christ, then Christ who lives in us touches the lives of people all around us. That’s our calling.
(Excerpt from an interview with Linda Booth, released on video on March 23, 2016)
Spirit, now live in me.
Breathe deeply and enter a few minutes of silence. Be attentive to where you sense new life emerging in you. Search your memories of the previous day. When did you notice the sacredness of life in surprising places or forms in the world around you?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
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