Encountering God in the familiar

I think Jesus knows us better than we like to think. He would know for example that a crew of hardy fishermen, who had recently experienced emotional, spiritual and mental trauma at the death of their Rabbi, their teacher and friend, would head back to their boats, back to the safety of the familiar. Back to the old routines, something to distract them maybe, give them purpose, after all nothing could be easier than fishing in the open water with nets. (John 21)

There would be nothing less than expected about two disciples either, whom having also seen and experienced the chaos of that first Easter in Jerusalem and the contrived stories of the body by women no less (!) who then decide to leave the city and head back home, back to somewhere to escape and the day to day life, after the weekend of all weekends. (Luke 24)

As Jesus is recognised by the disciples on the shore, cooking breakfast, nothing could be more normal, the smell of fire glazed, oil drizzled fish that morning, the feel of sand in the toes and water splashing around, maybe the sun in the sky, yet in that familiar place Jesus is revealed to the disciples. They remember the first time, when they were first called, also fishing.

Oh and on that road, its after the conversation to Emmaus, when the disciples get back home, and only inside when Jesus uncovers their eyes so he can be revealed, in their home, again the sounds and smells of the familiar things around, that place that was home and felt like home.

I wonder how much drama we cause to get young people to encounter God, how much in the way of lights or music, yet the real drama with encountering God can happen in the familiar, in the place we or they call home. As i remember these places of home, i recollect friends houses where i shared meals as a teenager, an early memory of walking on Whitley bay beach with new friends on the beginning of my youthwork vocation, Seaton Beach, amongst other places.

As we encounter young people in detached work, as we develop relationships with them, as we understand a little of the places that are familiar to them, the contexts, let us realise that God encounters them in these familiar places as we offer something of a relationship with them. It is as likely to be the still small voice in the familiar place than the noise of somewhere alien to them. And can be the place in the here and now, not the then and next.



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