As I’ve written before, contrary how most of us experience Easter, it’s actually a season of the Church, and not merely a day. It’s not meant to be blown by and then remembered in the rear view mirror by its exhaustion (hello, church-workers), chocolate consumption (or Peeps), and communal meals.
Just as Lent prepares us to think about the Cross, Easter now prepares to live the Resurrection Life…
… The reason that it’s a season is that this not as easy as it seems.
So over the next few weeks, I’m going to offer some thoughts on “Living the Resurrection”, and maybe we can figure this out together.
In contemplating the empty tomb yesterday morning, I was struck by Jesus’ activities after he is raised.
Assuming that the resurrection was a pretty big deal in those (any?) days, did you ever wonder why Jesus doesn’t just set up shop in the tomb and wait for everyone to come and see him?
Instead, he hits the road.
Matthew tells us he goes up to “the mountain” (one of his favorite places in Matthew) to give some final instructions to the Twelve.
Luke tells us that he joins some disciples on the road to Emmaus, then shows up later at dinner.
John says he crashes a (really, really depressing) party that the disciples are having, and then later to Thomas, and eventually has a really important conversation with Peter before departing.
Paul tells us,
He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve, and then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at once—most of them are still alive to this day, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me, as if I was born at the wrong time. (1 Corinthians 15v5-8)
In other words, even after the Resurrection is still really busy.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel says that one of the essential characteristics of God is that He pursues us:
This is the mysterious paradox of Biblical faith: God is pursuing man. It is as if God were unwilling to be alone, and He had chosen man to serve Him. Our seeking Him is not only man’s but also His concern, and must not be considered an exclusively human affair. His will is involved in our yearnings. All of human history as described in the Bible may be summarized in one phrase: God is in search of man.
Jesus—even after Easter—continues this tradition of the calling, seeking, pursuing God.
He is not content to only wait and allow people to seek Him out; He goes in search of folks.
… Of Mary, who loved Him but could not save him…
… Of the Twelve, who couldn’t stay awake with him or stay loyal to him…
… Of Thomas, who wasn’t even sure he believed he was really alive…
… Of Peter, who denied that he even knew him…
In other words, not only is Jesus on the move, searching people out, but the very folks who let Jesus down, who weren’t sure about him, who deserted him, who were helpless: those are who he goes to find.
The Resurrected Christ is looking for you. No matter what you’ve done, no matter what you “lack”, no matter how you think you may have betrayed him, he is still seeking you. He’s not afraid of you. He’s not ashamed of you. He’s not embarrassed.
So maybe this Easter, stop running. Or just slow down.