Easter…disrupts all that is old and failed
Our scriptures are seeking to provide us with both a glimpse of the early church, trying to understand Jesus’ resurrection, and asking us what sense it means to all of us. Our focus is not to be necessarily on the Resurrection itself, as much as what affect it had on those disciples of His and on us. Two weeks out from Easter and the empty tomb, and we are basically being told that while fear overcomes them and us…there is little room for the community to be alive. It’s interesting that since Easter Sunday the only thing that they share is their fear. And now He comes to them again, and intrudes into their sorrowful lives, and His presence is what regathers and reconstitutes them into a community.
What was the cement, the glue, the duct-tape that solidifies them into the community that he gathered around Himself while physically with them? It was His greeting of peace…not once or twice but three times. It was not only a greeting, but it was an assurance that He was indeed alive and in their presence. He ate with them and told them that “…a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have.” That greeting of peace also was to strengthen their lack of belief, that He indeed was risen and still journeying with them. Finally, it was a word that con-veyed that a life of faithful, obedient living would profit them freedom from their sins and death. When freed from fear they became a joyful and powerful community.
Real, concrete newness is what the Resurrection gave to them and gives us. Though the ris-en Lord is still mysterious, He is very real. He is very real in the church…He cooks, and they eat…that’s community. He is present, and they touch Him…they are community. Yet, terror and fear are still there because of His post-tomb appearances. What a dilemma…they want to be with Him, but they are afraid when He comes to them. Out of their strange encounters, the early church becomes a community that witnesses to a real chance for new life. That’s what we seek, hopefully. I want a chance, an opportunity to grow beyond my weaknesses and unbelief. Our old lives that are marked by failure, shame, doubt, and even some defeats, are re-created into a new life of confidence and joy…if only we believe in the power of His Resurrection. Its that kind of belief that makes us whole again and a community of faith, forever.
Walking with Him...and you,