The life-changing mystery of Easter is too great for just one Sunday

Detail of "Lilies, from an untitled series of Large Flowers" by Katsushika Hokusai, 1827-1839. 

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This week we mark the Third Sunday of Easter. For those of us with children (and I am not one, but I do have nephews) the Easter baskets and chocolate eggs and jellybeans and marshmallow peeps are long put away or eaten up. But the church, in its wisdom, gives us a whole liturgical season to celebrate Easter. That has always made a great deal of sense to me, because the life-changing mystery of Easter, is too great for just one Sunday or even one week. For one thing, we have a lot to think about in terms of what the disciples’ experience of the Risen Christ was like.

Did you ever wonder why what are called the “Post-Resurrection narratives” present such different images of what Jesus looked like? In some Gospel stories after the Resurrection, he seems recognizable; in others the disciples can’t recognize him at all. In some he seems ghostly, as when he suddenly appears to them in a room in which the doors are locked. In others, he seems physical, and even says, “I’m not a ghost!” So which is it? My sense is that it was hard, maybe impossible, to describe what Jesus’s “glorified” body looked like. And so even the Gospel writers struggle with it. It’s a reminder that our spiritual experiences sometimes are hard to explain. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that they’re any less real. Or meaningful. So maybe this week we can be open to those experiences in life that are beyond words, but which are filled with meaning for us.

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