A modern reflection on Jesus appearing to the disciples:
I just arrived in town and have almost nothing. Circumstances are what they are in my life at the moment. There’s a church and people are gathering. I will go to the church just to be a part of a community. I don’t have good church clothes to change into but I’ll put on my best smile.
I enter in the front door, “Good morning. How are you?”
The people inside look terrified at the sight of me. Nobody seems really sure how to respond to my presence or my question. Am I really that scary looking? Is it the colour of my skin? Is it the rainbow that represents who I am? Is it my clothing? Or is it just the fact that you don’t know me? Why are you afraid of me? I promise no harm to you. I just want to be welcome, to belong.
Look at me. I have eyes and lips and fingers and toes. My heart beats and my lungs breathe. Touch me. I promise I won’t bite off your finger.
“May I join you at your coffee table?” Over coffee we talk about life. My life. Your life. The way in which God’s spirit lives in us. As we speak, I am filled with joy. As we speak, your smile brightens and becomes more real. I can see God reflected in you. I don’t expect you to understand every bit of my life. I don’t expect you to understand all the choices and circumstances that brought me to this place but can you have joy in knowing me? Can you have joy because we share the same spirit of God? Can you see God reflected in me?
Do you see the risen Christ in me? You can be angry at me and at people like me but I refuse to allow your anger and hatred to destroy me. I choose to forgive. I choose joy in my life. Will you choose forgiveness and joy with me and experience the risen Christ among us? Will you continue to live in anger and fear? I hope you will choose the joy of life with me.
The risen Christ appeared among the disciples in a way that they couldn’t recognize. He used his body—the fact that he had a body and the fact that he needed to eat—as proof that he was real and alive. So often, we find ourselves judging others for outward appearances and yet it is in the very body that we judge, that we find the risen Christ. The risen Christ invites us to look at his body and really see it for what it is—not to look through him as though he is a ghost and not to be afraid of the body that can be seen. The risen Christ invites us to touch his hands and feet, to reach out and witness the harm that has been done to his body. The risen Christ invites us to share food together and in doing so experience his presence among us.