One of the great privileges of the faith is that we get to participate with Jesus in what God is doing in the world. This is far more than just praying a personal prayer to receive God’s life or ‘doing evangelism’ to ‘get people saved’. It’s watching to see what God is already doing, where God’s life is already breaking out, and then responding to this by co-creating, co-caring and co-welcoming people. This is how we, and those whom God touches through us, really connect with and experience God’s life.
The big challenge this month (as we celebrate the Risen Christ), then, is to discover where in your world resurrection is beginning – or continuing – to break out. But, then we also need to respond to these signs of resurrection. We need to ask how God wants us to participate, to notice, to communicate and to spread the life of God.
So often we feel that we have to make things happen, and that the initiative begins with us. The resurrection helps us to recognise that the initiative is always God’s. God’s life is always breaking out whether we see it or not. Our task is not to make anything happen, but to respond – to get on board with – what God is already doing.
This is a liberating and empowering thought, but also a challenging one.
We can choose to do our own thing, or nothing, but if we really want to encounter God and be involved in Gospel work, we’d better recognise and respond to God’s thing!
The Gospel of Luke doesn’t tell us why Cleopas and his unnamed friend were travelling to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), but once they had encountered the Risen Christ, they quickly changed their plans and rushed back to Jerusalem to tell the other disciples.
It was clear that the experience of the resurrection changed everything for them, and they could not go about their lives as before.
Two responses stand out in this resurrection encounter.
The first is the change in priorities. Whatever business had been important enough to take these two people to Emmaus quickly became less important in the light of Jesus’ appearance. When faced with the resurrection priorities change. When we become resurrection people, our lives cannot help but be rooted in the life and mission of God.
The second response that these two disciples made was to rush back and share their experience with the others. God’s life always draws us to connect with others and to share the life we have experienced. This may mean telling those around us about what we have experienced, or it may mean silently serving and loving them so that they experience God’s life for themselves through us.
How does Jesus’ resurrection change your priorities this month? And how can you share your experience of God’s life with others?
The first believers understood the importance of community. They gathered in order to share their experiences of God’s life with each other, but also to create a community in which others could see God’s life at work. This is why it is so important for us to gather with other Christ-followers in churches and small groups. We cannot effectively share God’s life alone. This month, dear friends, try to make some time to connect with other believers, even if it’s only by email or a phone call.