Surprised by Christ's Presence

Has Jesus ever startled you? Suddenly showed up in a place or situation you weren’t expecting? Join the disciples behind the locked doors in this passage and experience with them as they behold a living, breathing, healed Jesus. Receive His peace. Feel His breath. Ponder the power of healed wounds.

John 20:19-23 NLT

That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. 20 As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! 21 Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” 22 Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

For Reflection and Prayer:

If something captured your attention - a word, a phrase, an image - let this simmer in you and allow the Spirit to expand its meaning for you.

Notice any place of consolation or desolation that you experienced as you listened and allow the Trinity to minister to you there.

This text is full of tactile and sensory observations. How is it for you to place yourself in this story? Which of your senses are affected? Bring this affect into conversation with Jesus.

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Keeping Watch

Repeatedly Jesus invites us to pay attention and keep watch. The immediate, the now, this present moment is what we are given. Yet we are easily distracted from giving our whole attention to it.

What gift does the present moment hold for us? Jesus beckons us to receive the ever giving gift of the present moment.  Jean-Pierre de Caussade calls this gift the Sacrament of the Present Moment.

What makes the present moment holy, set apart for you? Where do you find the courage to pay attention to it with reverence? Can I be present to myself or another in the moment, noticing Christ's presence within it?

Be patient and kind to yourself as you unwrap the gift.

Mark 13:32-37 (MSG)
“But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven’s angels, not even the Son. Only the Father. So keep a sharp lookout, for you don’t know the timetable. It’s like a man who takes a trip, leaving home and putting his servants in charge, each assigned a task, and commanding the gatekeeper to stand watch. So, stay at your post, watching. You have no idea when the homeowner is returning, whether evening, midnight, cockcrow, or morning. You don’t want him showing up unannounced, with you asleep on the job. I say it to you, and I’m saying it to all: Stay at your post. Keep watch.”

For Reflection and Prayer:
As you listened to or read the text, was there a word or phrase which "shimmered" for you? Have a conversation with Jesus about what you heard.

Where or when have you been most aware of the presence of God, within you or around you? Upon reflection, what do you notice about that time?

What helps you or encourages you to stay present, attentive and watching for Jesus? What do you notice when you watch?

Do you notice what distracts you from the present moment? Sometimes, simply naming the sources of distraction can be a starting place to become more present.

Come, Follow Me

Jesus is calling. Always, in every moment, he is calling you to come to him. How do you hear his voice calling? Sometimes we hear it in the dissatisfaction with how we are experiencing life. His invitations quicken hope and life within us and by faith we risk following him into a different way of living.

Mark 1:14-20 NLT
Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News. 15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”

16 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 17 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 18 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

19 A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. 20 He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men.

For your Reflection and Prayer:
What word or phrase spoke to you as you listened to the text?

What do you notice about Jesus here?

How do you hear Jesus calling you? What does his voice sound like?

Is there something God seems to be speaking to you through this text?