Saturday, 17 April 2021


 'Ah yes, I was expecting you'; not a sentiment we hear from the lips of any of those who met Jesus after the resurrection. All the encounters caught the disciples, the women, the witnesses off-guard. It was in grief, in sadness, in disappointment, in doubt, in resigned 'we'll go back to fishing' that Jesus meets his followers. None expected the encounter; in many ways they were unprepared for it. The encounter turned expectations upside down. 

This is not to diss in any way the regular rhythms of prayer which the church commends to those who are serious about their faith and seek to encounter God. A discipline, a preparedness for encounter, a reminder that 'today is about meeting Jesus' is all to the good. Out of that can come the unexpected-meeting-with-grace. Like the couple I saw at the bus stop- needy, probably with multiple problems from the snatches of conversation I overheard- who out of the blue turned to me, wearing the day clothes of clerical shirt and collar, and said 'Father, please pray for us today'. Or the young traveller man in the changing room at the gym, who saw me put on my clerical shirt and collar as part of my clothing after the shower- I had just taken a wedding before coming to the gym- and (he) buck-naked, asked me to bless him. Unexpected encounters like these don't need a clerical collar. They do need resource, our disciplined prayer, and readiness to respond when the unplanned-for occurs, so that the kingdom of God , ever 'at hand' flows out of hearts at least semi-prepared, even semi-expected. .    

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