What a stunning Easter in November! It is freezing, sleeting and possibly snowing outside and there is little indication of the vibrant warmth of Spring that we usually associate with Easter, but we have come to the end of our journey through the Gospel of John and so we press on into the resurrection story.
Mary Magdalene arrives at the tomb or the coffin or the grave or whatever you want to call it to find the body of Jesus missing. It is in this moment out of pure exacerbation, Mary Magdalene cries out, “They have taken my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him.” I have always loved this phrasing…as it speaks directly to our time and the battle for the resurrected Jesus.
I hear many people who claim that Jesus hates gays, lesbians and nearly everyone else except them and their friends. They have taken my Jesus and I do not know where they have laid my Jesus.
I hear many people talking about how Jesus is shutting people out and closing doors. They have taken my Jesus and I do not know where they have laid my Jesus.
I hear many people say that Jesus wants to bomb and execute people. They have taken my Jesus and I do not know where they have laid my Jesus.
I hear many people talk about how Jesus wants you to get yours and get rich without a care for anybody else except yourself. They have taken my Jesus and I do not know where they have laid my Jesus.
I hear many people talk about how Jesus wants to give us power over people so that we can control them. They have taken my Jesus and I do not know where they have laid my Jesus.
Later, Jesus appears to the disciples and shows them the wounds to prove it is Jesus. Thomas misses it. Even later still, Jesus appears to Thomas and lets him place his hands where the nails and spear went. In that moment of feeling, Thomas is awoken to the truth and power of God.
The problem with much modern talk about Jesus is that people are trying to prove something and not feel something. The resurrection of Jesus is too mysterious and beautiful of an occurrence to be proven.
People ask me all the time… Do you believe in the resurrection? I always have to ascertain what they are asking me. If you are asking if I would have had a Polaroid camera could I have caught it on film, the answer is that Polaroid cameras didn’t exist back then. If you are asking if I would have had a high quality digital camera could I have pulled it up on my computer, the answer is that such things didn’t exist back then. The only evidence I have is that something magical happened that transformed the world and me.
I am not interested in rules, proofs, boundaries, logic or anything else…I am interested in feeling.
Jesus loved Thomas enough to be vulnerable with him. Jesus let Thomas touch the wounds. Together, they felt something. If you want to get past the boundaries and normativities of this life, you are going to have to be vulnerable enough to let yourself feel those who you want to touch and those who want to touch you. Through vulnerability you get fed and feed others…you feel something.
At the end of our passages today, Jesus asks Peter an infamous question, “Do you love me?” After some back and forth, Jesus replies, “Feed my people.” If you want to feel, then you have got to feed somebody. If you want to love, then you have to feed somebody. If you want to experience the resurrection, then you have to feed somebody. You can’t feel without feeding and they can’t feel without you being fed.
The beauty of the resurrection is that the pieces of the resurrected Jesus are found in experiencing love in each other. For in the feeling and the feeding, we find salvation.
The resurrection of Jesus is something to be felt not proven.