“Whom are you looking for?” - John 20:15
It was an ordinary day. That much I remember. The weather was fine. I don’t recall if I had worked or was off for the day; either way, I was home when the phone rang. The caller ID showed Heather’s cell number. I wasn’t expecting her to call. Cars didn’t have Bluetooth technology yet and cell phone minutes were a precious commodity. I knew it must be important.
I don’t recall the conversation, either. Something about an accident. She was at a toll plaza on 294.
I do recall the fear in her voice. Frantically trying to convey information to me while addressing the many other voices I could hear in the background.
The emergency responders arrived. She hung up. Worry found a place to settle in the deepest recesses of my being.
I did my best to focus on my own driving. Heading toward the toll plaza, I ran through every possible scenario my mind could conjure. None of it good.
I passed the toll plaza to circle back with the flow of traffic. The car was there. She must be, too.
I pulled up, prepared for the worst-case scenario. Or so I thought. I expected a damaged vehicle. I even expected a damaged person. I was not prepared for what came next… no person. Heather was nowhere to be seen. Of all the scenarios that ran through my mind, I had not at all prepared for a scenario in which she would not be on the scene. Looking back, it makes sense. Emergency crews did their job and evacuated her to the nearest hospital. But my mind was not prepared for this complete lack of my person at the time.
As Pastor Kim shared the message on Easter Sunday, the emotions of that day crept up again. I could empathize with Mary. She had come prepared for one outcome, as sad and worrisome as it were, but was surprised with a very different experience. Her Jesus was gone.
The Gospels’ account of the days following Jesus’ crucifixion reveal that, as sad and worrisome as death is, it seems there may be an anxious place beyond. Despair. Hopelessness. Darkness. This place has many names. None of them are beyond the reach of God’s love revealed in Jesus the Christ.
God’s love, revealed through Jesus the Christ, meets us in this place. God sits with us in this place. God listens to us in this place. God, ultimately, invites us to an existence beyond even this place. A new place. A new life. An eternal life. Full of joy. Grounded in hope. Shining light for all to see!
As individuals and as communities we experience these difficult places, where true life seems impossible. As a community, most recently, it was COVID. God met us in that place. God sat with us in that place. God listened to us in that place. God is inviting us, once again, to a new life beyond that place; a place full of joy, grounded in hope, shining for all to see! Jesus the Christ is gathering his people around the table once again. To do a new thing. To receive and to share. At FPCV, we are calling this new thing The Sharing Table Project, and we sure hope you will join us at The Sharing Table!