Giving presents that meet the need or bring joy can be such a challenge. In today’s story we see Jesus giving the present of PRESENCE. Joining simply – but intentionally – what his friends were doing, he enabled a life-changing conversation that helped his companions regain the God-perspective in their lives and hope for their future.
“Social distancing” has made us realize what a precious present PRESENCE actually is; especially physical presence, like walking as in this story. How does Jesus give PRESENCE, and how can we, even under lock-down conditions?
Looking again at the story I see Jesus…
….engaging in the others’ concerns
…bringing God perspective into the conversation
…going the extra mile
…knowing when to leave.
PRESENCE is first of all a costly present of TIME: giving the other person my full attention. Even if I cannot be physically there, I can be virtually – making the most of WIFI, phone and even mail.
More than just quality over quantity, let us ask the Spirit of God to prompt us when – and how much – to give the present of PRESENCE at the right time. Whether in business or relationships, TIMING matters.
What does this look like in the context of “social distancing”? As a nurse I cherish face-to-face contact with patients; now – in PPE – I use touch to look after patients too ill to be awake. A skype, letter or phone call with those alone at home, the sick or grieving can give such encouragement. Families and house mates being unexpectedly together (no school or commute) can invest afresh in their relationships.
Let us use lockdown to grow, with Jesus’ example, in giving the present of Presence with imagination: generously, at the right time, for the right time. It’s a winner.