Alleluia! Christ is risen!
As you no doubt know, Easter is not just a day but a season. It is a season of fifty days that begins on Easter Day and culminates on the Day of Pentecost. To celebrate this joyful season of resurrection we make liberal use of Alleluias, stand during prayers, and omit the Confession of Sin.
One of the things we know for sure about resurrection is that it fundamentally changes you. There are stories in the gospels about Jesus bringing to life people who have died – the daughter of Jairus, the widow's son at Nain, and Lazarus – but they were not resurrected. They were, more properly, resuscitated; that is, they had died, were returned to life, and people were able to recognize them. They were not fundamentally changed.
Resurrection, on the other hand, fundamentally changes you in such a way as to not be immediately recognizable. We see this with Mary and with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.
I was pondering this fundamental change to the resurrected Christ and I think the reason he is not initially recognizable is that, while Jesus was fully human/fully divine and recognizable in human form, the resurrected Christ is fully God, second Person of the Trinity.
This change returns the Son to his initial nature, of one being with the Father, true God of true God, part of the great I Am. Whereas Jesus lived a linear life from birth to death, God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – lives a life that simply is: no past, no future, where everything is now present. He is wrapped up in what was and what will be by being what is. Among other things, this is why Moses gets a name of, “I Am,” when he asks who sent him.
We can see all this when we look at the gospel readings for the first three Sundays of Easter. On Easter Day, John tells us Mary is at the tomb when Jesus appears to her but is at first unrecognizable. Matthew tells us that Jesus simply appeared to the women as they were going to tell the disciples. He appeared to the ten who were locked away in a room, and then again a week later when Thomas was present. And this Sunday we hear the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus when Jesus appears to them and then vanishes after blessing the bread, but he had also appeared to the other disciples.
What all this points to is that Jesus, as the resurrected Christ and second person of the Trinity, is now IN time, not of time. Another way of saying this is that Christ is present in this moment and that, for Christ, all moments of time exist in the now.
In this Easter Season when we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, may you come to see Jesus not only as the teacher, prophet, and healer of 2000 years ago, but may you come to see him as the risen Christ, part of the Godhead who is present in the here and now with us in each moment of our sorrows and joys. And in this Easter Season of resurrection, may you be as surprised as the men and women of that first Easter to find the risen Christ in your midst.
Alleluia! Christ is risen!