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Surprise - Monday Musing, April 19, 2021

Dear Church,

Surprise. Something that is unexpected, startling, or unusual is said to be surprising. A birthday celebration, for example, might not necessarily be a surprise, but one might want to create a surprise, particularly if the birthday is a milestone number and the event is not held on the celebratory day itself. Such a surprise happened this past Friday night.

My four older siblings and I all converged on Lakeland, FL to surprise my mother for a 90th birthday celebration. We all managed to keep the secret from her, with planning that began this past January. Mom is a couple weeks shy of her actual birthday, so she was not suspicious when lured to stop at my sister’s house, finding her five children, in-laws, and many grandchildren gathered together from places near and far. COVID-19 prevented several of us from seeing my mother in almost two years. The surprise for us adult children occurred when we realized that we had last gathered in one place at the same time (dare I admit) 10 years ago, when we celebrated my mother’s 80th birthday!

In this Eastertide season, we emerge from the surprise of Jesus’ resurrection. Oh, Jesus told his disciples what was going to happen to him, and it’s not that they did not believe, they simply did not expect Jesus’ death to occur. Still in shock over his death, it took some time before the disciples came to believe: it took Jesus’ surprise visit with the disciples after the resurrection when they saw him (John 20:19-23), “doubting” Thomas needing to see with his own eyes and to be able to put his finger in Jesus’ wounds (John 20:24-29), as well as two disciples walking with Jesus on the road to Emmaus unaware (Luke 24:13-16).

The author of the Gospel of John writes, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name (John 20:30-31). May the unexpected surprises of our faith give you strength on your journey.

And may you not have to wait until a monumental birthday to be surprised by those who love you. See you in church.




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