In the Easter season, we are treated to some of the most fascinating stories in the gospels. We might call them the resurrection stories.
At one time it worried me that each of the gospel books had a different ending. One (Luke) has a walk to Emmaus. One (Mark) has an empty tomb and no Jesus. One (John) has essentially 4 sightings! If we needed our gospel accounts to all line up, this knowledge would be more than a little confusing.
Our stories don’t have to line up, though. The resurrection is more than a moment. It is what happens to us when we come alive. It is what happens when we discover what we were called to do. Resurrection is what happens to people every single day.
We get these different stories precisely because we have different resurrection events that happen to us. Some of us probably do need to feel with our hands and see with our eyes to get what GOD is trying to tell us. Some of us probably do need to listen for once. Some of us probably do need to tell the story again, because we probably haven’t uttered any string of words involving Jesus’s death and resurrection to another person outside the creedal forms of our Sunday worship.
…and Jesus was lifted up onto the cross. There he was mocked and laughed at. Some would invite him, like the Temptor did back in the desert, to show his strength and power and come down from the cross: to change his circumstances and prove himself better than humanity. And it was there, in the midst of confusion and frustration, that Jesus took his last breath and died. With the sun setting soon, they took his body to a tomb to be buried on this, the end of the first day. And it is at that tomb, in the middle of the night of the third day, that his closest follower, Mary Magdalene, would discover that her crucified Lord was no longer there. He had risen!
We need the walk to Emmaus and the empty tomb and the appearance in the room and the seaside fishing story to get us thinking of the different ways that Jesus comes to us: the different ways that we experience resurrection.
I think this is why I experienced resurrection in a sparsely populated cathedral in Boston, MA and in a church in East Lansing, MI and in a church I was serving in Newnan, GA. Stories of resurrection and redemption in which the prospects of new life were being born in me. Each a different story. Each the same Jesus.
Peace be with you,