Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Where two or three are gathered…
Turnip End, Speen. Jesus joins us as we walk with Him
DID you know that the gospels record about 10 significant encounters by various people with the resurrected Jesus, before His visible ascension? I say ‘about’ because some of the incidents get mentioned in more than one account. Ten occasions is a lot, and all but one involved a group of two or more people. Whether walking, working, weeping or simply around a table, Jesus knew where to find His friends and followers, and He showed up for them.
That’s such a challenge to our religious mindset – a mindset which still wants to tell us that we have to be doing certain holy things, and in a holy place. I will probably get around to arguing that this does, in fact, help to get clarity in the relationship and the conversation, but it isn’t at all the biblical pattern we see in the ends of the various gospels.
What about walking? Probably number one for most of us is Luke’s story of the two disciples who were walking out of Jerusalem to a nearby village. Which disciples? Not the main players, that’s for sure. The only one who is named, Cleopas, is unknown in any other context. So these were disciples, but the implication is that they were a couple of the ‘small’ people.
And these are the people that Jesus particularly reveals Himself to – when they are walking together, and discussing Him and all that had happened during the most horrific Passover weekend that anyone could remember.
Without wishing to overspiritualise this, it is a reminder that life that embraces the active lordship of Jesus is a walk with Him, and He is with us on that walk – a walk by the Spirit, a walk in the light and a walk in the way of love. Life may be complex, and confusing, but He wants to share it with us.
The point about the holy place, the place (like the Chapel for instance) that stands for light, truth and love, is that it can help achieve a walk of particular closeness when, for example, there are matters to pray through or others to stand in the gap for. Jesus shows up when we are walking with Him in mind, as Cleopas and his friend found out, and we need to try to do this in the whole of life. But sometimes a set apart place of peace and the presence of Jesus, established over centuries, helps to define that walk and block out distractions when that close focus and ability to hear God is especially needed.