5/6/2018-If Jesus were to come up to you today-

Posted on : May 3rd, 2018 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Seeing is a strange thing.  Somethings are just so obvious.  Other things that we should be able to see are not.  A great example of what we see and don’t see can be found in the FedEx logo.  Among designers, the FedEx logo is considered one of the best designs ever created.  Scroll up to the top of this page and look at the logo.  What do you see?  Chances are good if you are under 30 years old you see something that those of us who are older don’t usually see.  And if you really want to feel old, show the logo to a kid and they are most apt to see what we don’t see, almost immediately.

The seen and unseen item is an arrow. The FedEx logo has the graphic outline of an arrow in it.  If you haven’t found it, keep looking – or ask a kid to help you.

For years I never saw the arrow.  In fact, it wasn’t until we commissioned the new logo for our church that I discovered the arrow!  The arrow is part of a creative design feature called “negative space” or “white space.”  Negative space or white space is part of the area that is usually considered the background.  It’s not something that is drawn or colored, it’s just there.  Most of the time we don’t see it.  Well, actually most of the time we don’t recognize it because we’re not used to looking at what is normally just background.

I think that is a great illustration of how we see and don’t see Jesus.  This Sunday we continue the faith journey of learning to see the resurrected Jesus.  In the bible, these stories where the Risen Christ appears to the disciples are called “post-resurrection experiences.”  Sounds logical, right?  “Post” means “after.”  So these post-resurrection experiences are stories of the Risen Christ appearing to the disciples after the resurrection.  The strange thing about them is nobody recognizes the Risen Christ when Jesus first appears to them.  You might say, he appears as negative space or white space.  In the story of Jesus on the road to Emmaus, he is just there.  Sometimes such as in the story of Jesus appearing to the disciples and then Thomas, Jesus is portrayed as a spiritual being that becomes present even behind locked doors.  And sometimes the body that Jesus appears in, isn’t recognized.  In all these stories, it’s not until Jesus does something concrete or says something that the disciples recognize him.  That something is usually an expression of the love he shared with them in the ordinariness of their lives.  No bolts of lightning.  No dramatic opening of the heavens with trumpets blaring.  No, it’s things like offering a blessing and breaking bread, cooking a common meal of fish to be shared, calling us by our name, blessing us, coming to us in peace.

One of the reasons I think the post-resurrection stories are so important in our faith journey is they prepare us to see Jesus in ways we have not previously seen.  Spiritually speaking, we’re asked to see Jesus in negative space or white space.  That is, in the ordinariness of life.  In Tuesday’s God Is Still Speaking devotional, I spoke about how easy it is to see God in our kids.  Then I asked, “Why then is it so hard for us to see that in each other?”

We’ll look at that this Sunday as we try to see the living presence of Christ among us in the negative or white space in our lives.



John 21:1-19

After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias; and he showed himself in this way. Gathered there together were Simon Peter, Thomas called the Twin, Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples. Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

Just after daybreak, Jesus stood on the beach; but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to them, “Friends, you have no fish, have you?” They answered him, “No.” He said to them, “Cast the net to the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in because there were so many fish. That disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is Jesus!” When Simon Peter heard that it was Jesus, he put on some clothes, for he was naked, and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, only about a hundred yards off.

When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Risen Christ. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Jesus, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go.” (He said this to indicate the kind of death by which he would glorify God.) After this he said to him, “Follow me.”



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