Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Everyday Encounters

Have you ever been walking at night and met a neighbor, so you stopped and chatted awhile? Or been at a park with your kids or grandkids and struck up a conversation with another adult?Perhaps you've recently visited a friend who was in the hospital. And we know the experience of going to the funeral of someone we loved dearly.

These are all rather every day, run-of-the-mill encounters we have in life, aren't they? So common, so ordinary that most of us probably don't think to look around to see if God is there in these encounters.

But the Gospel readings during this season of Lent tell about encounters that Jesus has with ordinary people, in everyday circumstances. A bible student comes to him one evening with some questions that have popped into his mind. On a hot day, with a parched throat, he asks a woman for a drink of water. He talks with a man blind from birth. He goes to the home of Mary and Martha, who are grieving over the death of their brother, Lazarus.

And there, in these ordinary moments, in these chance meetings, in these everyday encounters, God is present in Jesus Christ:
- challenging the wisdom of a learned man;
- inviting a woman to a new life;
- helping a man born blind to see;
- helping the grief-stricken sisters to realize that God
is more powerful than death; that God's love
calls forth life from the grave.

Maybe one of the "disciplines" we should practice for the rest of this Lenten season is to pay more attention to our chance encounters, our everyday conversations.

So, next time you are in the store and chatting with a friend, look to see if Jesus is over in the next aisle, eavesdropping. When your child asks you for a snack upon returning home from school, be sure to listen carefully to see who is making the request. When a sibling calls at night in the middle of your favorite show, pay attention to their questions, not the commercials.

After all, it might just be God, seeking to engage you in the midst of your ordinary, everyday life; just as Nicodemus, Photini (the woman at the well), the man born blind, and Martha, Mary, and Lazarus were met by Jesus in all their ordinary lives.

(c) Thom M. Shuman

No comments: