At our Bible study yesterday, we struggled with THE RESURRECTION. One person said, “I just don’t know what to do with it” and another echoed, “I’m not sure I buy it all.” It was like a gust of wind blowing into the room clearing out all our shoulds and “have always heards” and opening the way to a deep conversation about Easter, the Resurrection and the risen Christ. For some of us, Easter comes too soon. We need a longer Holy Saturday, a longer interval between Good Friday and Easter. We need time to absorb the grief, time to absorb the pain. Others need more time with the empty tomb and the open question—what does that empty tomb mean in our lives as individuals and our shared life in community? Still others wonder about Jesus outside the tomb, the Risen Christ, the Resurrected One.
We talked about the various stories of the Easter Jesus—on the road to Emmaus, at the table eating bread, on the shore building a fire, in the locked room showing his wounds to Thomas and the others. We talked about Paul’s take on the resurrection, his distinction between earthly bodies and heavenly ones, his focus on the body of Christ. We talked about the myths and stories we had heard. And we talked about how we made sense of it all. From one side of the table came a voice saying “I see Jesus in you and you and you.” Imagine it: the Risen Christ appearing in those who follow him!
Then I went home and read an e-mail that pointed me to a video of Sara Miles speaking to the people at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. I’m a Sara Miles fan. I admire the way she lives her faith by running a food pantry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church. It’s not so much that she runs or started a food pantry but that the food pantry is run from the table where the bread and wine are blessed and served on Sunday morning and run in that same eucharistic spirit that surrounds the sharing of the bread and wine. It is so clear that Sara Miles sees the work the food pantry folks do as part of being Christian.
In talking about the work she does and the grounding of that work, Sarah Miles asks, “What if you and everybody around you actually were Jesus and filled with that power?”
She goes on to suggest that we “take Jesus’ teachings literally and go out the front door and act on them.” Yet what captured my attention after our Bible study conversation on Resurrection was how Sarah Miles ended her short talk. “Every single thing the Resurrected Lord does on earth now he does through our bodies.” In a way she’s saying, “We are the resurrection.” It’s not a one-time only event. The Resurrection as an unfolding thing with Christ continually being resurrected in those who follow him.
Easter is coming. It’s time to practice Resurrection!