To Be Christ's Presence

April 18, 2019 by Stephen D. Bryant

During a Holy Week several years ago, my family and I were in a car accident far from home. Strangers came to our aid, letting our need interrupt their plans, caring for us and sharing our burden. Looking back, we give thanks to God for how fortunate we were.   

One woman who stopped offered to take care of our little dog, returning him to us at the end of the day at the hospital several miles away. It was a little thing. And yet her availability to our need, even in a little thing, despite her having other plans, makes her stand out in our memory as a kind of saint.   

In Life Together: The Classic Explorations of Faith in Community, the late Dietrich Bonhoeffer explores the mystery of Christ’s being present to us through one another, commending a ministry of “active helpfulness. . . . We must be ready to allow ourselves to be interrupted by God … [It] is part of the discipline of humility.”  

Have you noticed that the Resurrection stories are all about interruptions? Luke tells how the risen Jesus “came near and went with” two despondent disciples as they walked to Emmaus, “but their eyes were kept from recognizing him” (Luke 24:16, NRSV). John reports that the risen Jesus comforted a grieving Mary and reawakened her faith, though “she did not know that it was Jesus … Supposing him to be the gardener” (John 20:14-15). This year I pray for the grace and humility to be Christ’s presence to others. Easter promises not only the gift of Christ’s presence to us but the privilege of being Christ’s presence for those in need of a helping hand.

 Stephen D. Bryant is the Publisher of The Upper Room.

This article also appears in the Spring 2019 Fellowship Focus newsletter for friends and donors of The Upper Room. Click the image below to view the complete newsletter:

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