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Monday, April 19, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Luke 24

When I worked for the public health department back in Spokane, one of the duties I had was to help staff the outreach center downtown. The outreach center had many functions. One of its primary functions was to get intravenous drug users connected with resources that would greatly reduce their risk of contracting HIV. This meant that I saw a very different side of the community than I had ever seen before.

After a while, most of the individuals who passed through the outreach center didn’t distinguish themselves. Many were people who had made a point of trying to seem invisible to others. It was their way of staying out of trouble.

There was one pair of teenagers who came in, however, that I still remember nearly 13 years later. The couple was made up of a young man who must have been around 17 and a young woman who was around 13. What made the couple stand out was the way the young man cared for the girl who had been thrown out of her abusive home. While many individuals in his circumstance would have preyed upon the young woman’s vulnerability, this young man did not. In fact, he did just the opposite: he provided protection for her on the streets, he showed her where to get help, and he helped her make healthier decisions that wouldn’t put her long term health and well-being at risk. When I looked at the young man as he got a list of resources available to them, I swear I saw more than a scruffy faced teen. The closer I looked at him and the more I listened to him, the more I felt the presence of Christ.

Of course lots of folks would say that was a strange place to bump into the presence of Christ – in a downtown outreach center created to reach at risk populations. But then again – as today’s passage from Luke reminds us – Jesus had an odd way of showing up in the places folks least expected to see him.

At the start of the passage, for instance, the disciples expected to see him in the tomb. When they went to look for Jesus’ body in the tomb, he wasn’t there.

The disciples walking on the road to Emmaus were sure they wouldn’t encounter Jesus anymore. And guess what? They did.

Then, as the group of disciples gathered to hear the story about the others’ encounter with Jesus, guess what happened? That’s right. Jesus appeared.

Jesus had a way of appearing in those times and places that you would least expect!

With this in mind, I would encourage you to keep your eyes and ears open as you move through your day. See if you might find Christ’s presence through the words and actions of another.

Til next time…

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