Yesterday we woke up to rumblings in the sky. It was a dark morning, thunder and lightning, the first spring storm. Scout was sitting on the rug at the end of the bed -- not too bad yet, although when I asked her to come, she wouldn't. My side of the bed is near the window, a dangerous place.
Through the early hours of the morning, as the sounds got louder and scarier, our dog got more and more worried. She paced, she panted, but what she did most of all, what she always does during thunderstorms, is try to find a safe place to hide. At one point she ended up in our small bathroom (who told her this is really the safest place in the house?), at another time she wedged herself between my husband's easy chair and the end table. She is also partial to the basement. There is a bed downstairs she can crawl under.
I try to comfort Scout. I keep telling her that we won't let the bad storm get her, but she doesn't respond to reason. Fear is often like that. You can't reason with it. You can only be there.
Inevitably, as I watched Scout and as I heard the sky, I considered the disciples, the Easter disciples hiding in their locked room after the resurrection. They were afraid, the story says, and so they tried to find a safe place to hide. And why is it that I imagine that room as small and cozy, with not much room for another person, not even a resurrected Savior?
Despite the resurrection of Jesus, it seems we are often afraid. The sky rumbles, the world changes, the signs and portents we do not understand. There are many things going on in our culture that don't seem so friendly. The things we used to do (at least in church) don't always work any more. Some people don't come. Others mock believers. Some just ignore us. We can keep saying and saying, "God is in charge. This is Christ's church," and even know it's true, but still, we're afraid.
It's tempting, at times like these, to try to find a safe place to hide: the basement, perhaps? Any small space, where there is not much extra room, will do. It's tempting, at times like these, to make our expectations as small as the space we are hiding: to forget that Jesus rose from the dead and is still risen. It's tempting to find that small space and stay there, with the people we know, doing the things we know how to do. It's dark and cramped, but it's safe. Right?
So Jesus walks into that small locked room, and you know what? he doesn't say, "I'm in charge." He doesn't say, "I won't let the big bad thunder get you." All he says is, "Peace." Peace be with you.
And then he sends us out, not to do our puny little tasks, but to proclaim and enact his great mission. He sends us out in the thunder and the lightning, to that dangerous world. He sends us out to the world not to reason with people, not to tell people facts about God, but to love them. To be there.