“When the unexpected happens you begin to live.” I do not recall who first wrote that but it is essential truth. When our individual, daily lives follow a pattern with which we have become so familiar, then it is arguable whether we are living or just doing everything by habit. It is only when those patterns are turned upside down by something unexpected, that we see a new way of living is required.

Nothing could be more unexpected than a virus that has turned into a huge, global pandemic. We may not have a family member or friend who has died as a consequence of being exposed to it. But we do know how it has turned every person’s life upside down with a shared experience of isolation that has curtailed so much of the previously “normal” part of our lives. That in itself sets us back to question all the things we used to do and how we went about doing them. From here on, the way we live day-to-day will never be the same even after the corona virus is brought under control. So are we questioning in that way?

The gospel reading for next Sunday is John 20:19-31 but read the whole chapter. Here we have Peter, “the other disciples”, Mary Magdalene and Thomas who were suddenly faced with the unexpected happening. – Jesus’ body no longer being in the tomb and Jesus suddenly appearing to Mary Magdalene and Thomas – yet again unexpectedly. We have very little information as to how they coped with this unexpected experience. Beforehand they were each individuals who had lived normally, though Peter and the disciples had already found a new way of living following Jesus and being fascinated, though not understanding, his example and teachings. Now, the apparent rising of Jesus from death and burial, again unexpectedly, turns them upside down.

Well, as with the disciples, how are you dealing with your living patterns being turned upside down? How are you living all that you say you believe about Jesus rising into the fullness of being as Christ? As with Peter and the disciples, Mary Magdalene and Thomas, consider again how you have lived faithfully and what you are now being called to change and mature?

This is about allowing all that you believe to be what empowers and motivates you instead of what your mind tells you to do and be. For me this is challenging my comfort zone rather than comforting me in a time of “up-side-down-ness”.

A Word for us in our life and sense of community is this – the way to hear and feel the word of “peace” is in accepting what has happened and integrating it into your personal life history. That challenges us because Easter calls us to make a different way of life possible, living completely in and out of the life-giving presence and Spirit of Jesus the Christ.

Rev Keith Allcock