Finding Jesus in the Mundane
Whenever we talk about God acting in the world, we tend to talk about those big, huge, flashy moments that stand out...but what about the rest of the time? When and where do we see God acting and Christ working in the every day?
Finding Jesus in the Mundane
Southern Heights Presbyterian Church
Rev. Leanne Masters
May 4, 2014
When have you experienced a miracle? When have you experienced Jesus present with you?
Ask most anyone these questions, and we can list the times, no matter how few, that we have really, truly, felt the presence of Christ in our lives.
Usually, it’s when it is the darkest moments in our lives...moments when Christ is the light shimmering in the darkness. Or when we feel well and truly lost...times in which we have seen Jesus there, guiding us and showing us the way home. Or any of those moments when there is something huge that happens, something that we can point to and look at and say, yes! I have seen Christ, and I know that God is with us.
The fact is that we tend to be pretty good at recognizing when God is present...in the big things.
We like the big trumpet blast, the angelic visit, the amazing story that shouts out: God is Here, Now! Look! Listen! Pay Attention! We like those moments because, in them, it is quite clear what is happening, we can see it, at a glance, we can recognize it, and we can point to it and show others how God is at work in us and in the world around us.
But what about the rest of the time? What about the times when life is neither good nor bad, when you’re living the day in and day out drudgery of the every day, when things are going just fine and you’re just incredibly busy, running from program to event to dinner to bed?
When, during those times, can you say that you have experienced a miracle or Jesus really and truly present with you?
While we are pretty good at recognizing the presence of the divine in the big moments, We are not so good at recognizing that in the everyday, in the mundane, in the normal.
But, even in those moments, Christ is there.
In this wonderful story that we have this morning from the Gospel of Luke, we meet two of the disciples as they are walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, a journey of about 7 miles. As they are walking, they are joined by a man whom they do not recognize, with whom they share the whole story of the death and resurrection of Jesus. This man tells them that, while they have their facts about the events that have unfolded correct, they do not understand the whole of what had happened, and he spends the journey teaching them, starting with the story of Moses on through the history of Israel, so that they can understand, fully, what the story that they shared with him meant.
At the end of the journey, they invite him to join them for the evening, to share in a meal with them...the most mundane of all activities...and as he sat at the table with them, he took bread and blessed it and broke it and gave it to them, and in that moment their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. They recognized that this man, who had been with them throughout the day, throughout the journey, throughout all of their conversations, was, in fact, Jesus.
They didn’t experience a miraculous vision of wonder and power. They didn’t experience choirs of angels and trumpets proclaiming his presence. They didn’t experience a wonderous display of God...
But that simple moment when they recognized Jesus with them, made all the difference for them.
Because of that quiet moment of grace, they were able to understand that Christ was with them, among them, teaching them all along.
Because of that hushed moment of awe and wonder, their eyes were opened to truly witness Christ’s presence.
Because of that moment, they were given the powerful reminder that, while Christ had departed from their presence, he wasn’t truly gone, but would remain with them in every time and every place.
Yes, their ability to see Christ’s presence in the everyday act of sharing a meal together changed the way that they saw the world, and changed the way that they would understand Christ’s presence in them and in the world.
This story, and the experience of the disciples on the road to and in Emmaus, is part of the reason why we celebrate the presence of Christ amongst us in the re-creation of a meal. It’s a meal that happens...every day. Shoot, we eat two, three times a day. We gather around tables, in our homes and out in the community, to break bread together, to share a drink, to share those stories of what is going on in our lives and the world.
In the final meal that he shared with his disciples before his death, Jesus said to them: Whenever you do this, do it in remembrance of me. I truly believe that he didn’t mean the ritual and the ceremony that we have built up today...he never meant to institute a rite or a ritual. Instead he was saying: Whenever you do this. Whenever you gather around a table with family and friends. Whenever you share a meal with another person...do that in remembrance of me.
Use the breaking of bread, the sharing of a meal, the sharing of love and laughter, of stories of words, the sitting around a table in communion and in community to remember me, and all that I have taught you and shown you...use the sharing of a meal to remember me.
Friends, for us today, as we celebrate the communion meal, we celebrate the reality that Christ is not just present in our lives and in the world in those big and flashy moments, but every moment, of every day. In the ceremonial breaking of bread and sharing of a cup, we remember that he is with us in the everyday activities of our lives. That he is with us through the good times and the bad, as we rush from project to program to activity. That he is with us, teaching us through the things that we see and the people that we talk to. That he is with us, ever helping us to recognize the presence of the divine in the world around us.
And, as we do so, we are ever changed...because when we start to witness and see the risen Christ in the everyday around us, it makes it so much easier to recognize Jesus in those big moments. When our eyes are opened to recognize him walking with us down the everyday roads in our lives, it makes it so much easier to see that he is beside us when the road gets rough. And when we remember that he is with us, in all the moments of our lives, when we reach those dark moments, we don’t have to look very far to see the light of Christ burning brightly next to us, lighting the world, showing us the path that we are to follow, and bringing us home.
Sisters and brothers, may we ever remember that Christ is present among us, each and every day. May this meal that we symbolically share here today remind us that he is with us, that he is giving us those moments of quiet grace and hushed awe, and may we gain strength and comfort in that for the journey that lie ahead.