And the disciples — Jesus’ closest friends and followers who abandoned Jesus as he drew closer the cross; they came back together and lived their lives with resurrected courage.
They began to heal and to teach and to feed and to feel, in the name of Jesus, empowered!
In all four Gospel accounts, Christian community began at the place of impossible probability: the empty tomb.
A member of the community I served before was at a major turning point in her life, in a crisis of faith, praying hard, struggling with God’s promise. An image came to her in prayer, not of a stone, but of a wall.
She said, “There was a wall in front of me. I could not see over it or move through it. I climbed and climbed, up and up. But there was no end to the wall. I decided to dig. I dug and dug very deep, but the wall was under the ground.
“I tried to go around it. I ran to the right side, but could find no way around. I ran to the left side, but could not find it. I took a hammer to break the wall, and as I hammered, the wall began to break apart in places, but I saw there was another wall on the other side of it just as big. Finally, I gave up my effort. I stopped. I cried and prayed. At that moment the wall transformed into God somehow.”
The barrier was removed when she looked; resurrection is a mystery.
There is not one single unified tradition about the resurrection. There is not one unified biblical witness about resurrection. But what all have in common is that lives were transformed, and that communities of healing, hope and hospitality were formed... and still are still prevalent today.
The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said, “I’d believe in a resurrected Christ if I saw more resurrected Christians walking around.”
When we expect resurrection, when we live it, we risk change and challenge in how Jesus loved others into loving in his consistent crossing of the barriers of culture, gender, disease, class, and status.
Jesus did not teach us specifically what to think as much as he taught and showed us how to live resurrected lives. Let us give thanks for the new life that transformed our lives in surprising ways, for that is the promise we claim as we tell the story and proclaim the mystery.
Christ is risen, indeed!
The Rev. Eun-Joo Myung is the pastor of the Methodist Presbyterian Church. Sermon notes is a column by local religious leaders.