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Surprise Encounters

Last Saturday while sitting in my home office, I received a surprise phone call from an old college roommate. I say old because the year we roomed together was 1965. We last met, in fact last talked, just a couple years ago when attending our 50th reunion of our graduating class. He lives in Normal, OK. I’m in Dayton, OH. We have next to nothing in common except for that one year, actually only one semester, of rooming together in Campbell Hall on campus.

Nice surprise.

For me it’s a good time for such surprises.

Maybe you’re thinking this is because I’m cooped up indoors at home most of the time nowadays. Yes, but……………what I really had in mind is the time we call Easter. The season of remembrance and celebration of what Christians know as “The Resurrection” of Jesus. Remembrance of such times as when the original Jesus followers were cooped up indoors most of the time for fear of their own death if they were ruled guilty by association with the recently crucified Christ. Remember that story from the Bible?

John’s New Testament Gospel relates two stories in Chapter 20 depicting these disciples of Jesus as being indoors. Some were fearful, or just plain doubtful.

Sound familiar?

Spending time inside behind closed or perhaps even locked doors is still going on in today's world. And what better time for the resurrected Christ to make a surprise appearance in our lives? What better season than Easter to remember and celebrate that Jesus Christ knows where we live? And comes with resurrection love into our lives of crucifixion, or coronavirus, fear and doubt!!

We may be surprised to know even today that Jesus lives for such times as this in our lives. Surprised to know that when fear and doubt places us indoors at home keeping to ourselves, love has a way of entering through our doors and walls and saying, with the resurrected Christ, “Peace be with you” (John 20:19, 21, 26).

Is it possible for Jesus Christ to still get into our closed and secluded places even today? To still get into our scared and doubtful places today? And to still say to us “Peace be with you” not just once, or twice, but three different times before we finally get it? Get what Easter 2020 is really all about?

Is it possible for love to break through the barriers of our own fear and doubt, our own walls of protection, our own marital and family conflicts, our own loneliness and despair?

Love’s resurrection is what happens when our betrayals and our denials and our negative emotions have driven us inward in our search for "peace" of mind.

What better time than now, in this season of surprise encounters we call Easter, to practice love within our own family relationships in some new way?

What better time than now, if we really are followers of Jesus, to be the voice on the phone or the letter in the mail that reaches out to others in their own homes as a surprise encounter for them?

Today may be the best opportunity we’ll ever have to practice love’s resurrection, and to penetrate the doors and walls of someone who is indoors and living with fear and doubt. Whether we are dealing with crucifixion or coronavirus in our world, the resurrected Christ has a way of breaking through our natural human barriers. This may be the best time of all to reach out and say those Easter words we all need to hear when cooped up inside: “Peace be with you.” Today may be the best time for us to be the resurrected Christ in someone else’s closed-in life.

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