“Show and Tell” becomes tell and He shows
Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus has appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. And just was they were telling about it, Jesus himself was standing there among them. — Luke 24:35-36a
I will always love and totally miss my kindergarten teaching days as a long-term sub for many, many reasons. One of the gazillion classroom joys I had was seeing the pride and ownership a student radiated when he or she unveiled their treasure for Show and Tell.
When the squirmy-on-the-carpet student took their turn as presenter, now that was The Best. They stood up and showed a demeanor we, as class, had not seen. Confident in what they were presenting, they were the teacher for the moment.
Less than radiantly, the two on their way home to Emmaus were talking about the events that had happened in Jerusalem. Perhaps they were two in the provoked mob who shouted, “Crucify him!” after Barabbas was released and Jesus was presented as the one to die.
The two could not let their experience or memories drop. Jesus’ gruesome death on a cross shattered them. At the least, it stumped them. Another outsider who claimed to be their messiah had died.
But the story doesn’t end there. When we, like those two, talk about Jesus, guess what? He shows up. How he does this is as unknown today as it was during the duo’s journey, but Jesus is there. Like that. When we start talking about him, he just appears.
We need to find both strength and comfort in this fact. We can never fully understand in this life all that Jesus does and why—our ways are not his ways—but Jesus is there. Right there. With us.
Just a few verses later in this chapter from Luke, Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit being present to us. Jesus does this to tell his disciples then and us today what we cannot fully grasp but can always rely on: our three-in-one God is always with us. He’s always present. He’s always there.
This changes the ballgame, folks, because this changes—our should change—our witness. I have three examples.
Being pulled from within to go visit a neighbor with kids she knows she should invite to church, a devoted follower refutes the urgings of the Holy Spirit encouraging an invitation to worship by saying, “I’m not good at that.”
Another woman I love and respect is struggling over whether or not to have a conversation with her teenage granddaughter who is somewhat estranged. One lives in Texas, the other in Pennsylvania. Have the conversation. Do it. Show up. Let Jesus do the rest.
A third woman I know, an intelligent, gentle and loving pastor, has a challenge. She should visit a family in a house that would be difficult for her to enter into. The story here is kinda sticky, but the Holy Spirit is doing what the Holy Spirit is doing to her what he (yes, scripture says the Holy Spirit is a ‘he’) has done with the other two just mentioned. He is calling her forward so that our triune God can be known through her.
Like those two from Emmaus, when we just start talking about Jesus—even when we start thinking about or praying to Jesus—he shows up by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Every Christian knows but can ignore this: Jesus does the work, even when we are not as confident as a kindergarten kid with his stuffed doggywog in tow. He is God incarnate. He makes himself known. We just have to show up and tell.
Someone you know needs to hear about Jesus NOT from someone else, but from you. You. Special you. Uniquely placed you. Wonderfully gifted you.
PRAYER: Dear Holy Spirit, help me trust (again) that Jesus will do what Jesus always does, and that is show up when I need him. Amen.