Gas Station Dancing Queen and The Presence of Jesus
My son just did one of those things that adult children do to drive their parents crazy--he decided to drive home late last night from a whirlwind weekend trip to North Carolina. He didn't get home until 4AM, and I am pretty sure his mother was sleeping fitfully until he got in. I slept like a rock, but that's beside the point.
This morning he told me a story about a resurrection moment in his trip, and I asked him if I could share it.
He told me that around 2 AM, he stopped to get gas in the middle of nowhere. There were other people there, too, he said, and they all looked about as tired as he did. Just a bunch of weary travelers, filling up their tanks in the middle of the night.
My son said that while they were all standing there pumping gas into their cars, the music playing over the loudspeakers outside suddenly changed. The familiar strains of the classic 70's song "Dancing Queen" by ABBA burst into the humid, mid-morning air of South Georgia.
Jay started singing along, softly, and then he noticed that some of the other people were doing the same. The sound of people singing started to grow. By the time the song was almost over, almost every person that was pumping gas in the week hours of the morning was not only singing along to "Dancing Queen," they were spinning and dancing under the fluorescent lights illuminating the gas pumps.
Life is short, and it's often filled with challenges. In the ancient book of Job we have these words, acknowledging the struggles that many of us have in life: "For we are but of yesterday and know nothing, for our days on earth are a shadow." Job 8:9
But then you have these moments in the middle of our oft-weary journey where we hear the song that God is singing all around us, and we realize there are other people who are singing it, too. And we realize we are not alone--that God is with us, and present among our sisters and brothers who sing along with us.
Jesus made a promise to his disciples about his joyful, resurrection presence: "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” (Matthew 18:20) I think that there are countless moments in life when we get the chance to experience exactly what Jesus is talking about here, and most of them don't happen in church.
You see, in my humble opinion, wherever there are signs and symbols of resurrection, we can know that Jesus is almost certainly present there through the power of God's Holy Spirit.
In the ancient world, it took two or three witnesses to be able to prove something. So, I believe what Jesus is saying here is that you experience more fully the resurrection moments of Jesus presence when you experience them with others.
May you find resurrection moments today with your sisters and brothers in the world around you. May you be more aware of how God is still in the business of resurrecting what has been left for dead. May you experience the intense joy of seeing Jesus in the faces of those who are dancing and singing with you.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.