It’s that time of the year.
The season of the appearances, of God showing up.
We are, as Flannery O’Connor wrote, “Christ haunted.”
We are hearing the post-Easter appearance stories of Jesus, Jesus in the resurrection body, physical hauntings if you will.
“The Lord is Risen indeed.”
We proclaim it in our worship of God.
That turn of phrase comes from the deep memory of our faith, the words come from Luke’s remembering today.
They are the words that we gather around, the event that makes us who we are, they are why we are here.
The Lord is Risen indeed.
The making sense of it, without explaining it away, the what to do with it without controlling it, that is what gathers and sustains the faith and the Church.
What can it mean? It changes everything, but we aren’t sure how.
What does this change?
All the appearance accounts go out of their way to emphasize the physical nature of the encounters, they are clearly not ghostly super natural apparitions or dreams, but physical encounters involving many people at once. But physical in a new way, not normal, maybe super-normal, or super-physical, would be better words, language fails. A new vocabulary seems to be required.
The season of Christ hauntings, the festival of the great fifty days of Easter.
The season for gathering around the encounter of meeting Jesus in surprising ways and surprising situations.
Walking with a stranger.
Talking about scripture.
Invitations in the gathering dark.
Breaking bread together.
Sharing the impossible.
The ways that Jesus is met in the reading today.
Ways of encountering God.
They show us something of God and of how to live our brief, precious lives.
We miss it so often don’t we?
The sacred, the miraculous, the risen Lord in the middle of the ordinary, the painful and wonderful stuff of life.
So often it is after the fact.
Like recognizing the Lone Ranger only by the silver bullet left behind.
In all the ways that we break bread together, with others, with strangers, do we see Jesus?
Usually after the fact if at all.
Being a priest is a fascinating vocation.
Always trying to find ways to convey and communicate God’s grace.
Over the years the Church and the surrounding culture has found amazing ways to communicate just about everything continuously.
I have been noticing, and I am willing to bet that I am not the only one, that both digital and print communications have come to the limit of their usefulness.
Hardly anyone gives much attention, only passing glances at the most.
A saturation level seems to have been met.
Things are going old school, back to the personal, the one on one, the gathering at table, as the only place where our attentions are held and our minds are opened, our hearts warmed and our souls fed.
In the breaking of the bread.
In a personal hand written note.
In showing up.
The wonders of modern communications are good at helping us set a time and place to be together, if even that. Though the personal invite is all that can get through most of the time, back to word of mouth. Old school indeed.
It turns out we are not digital, we need contact and connection with flesh and blood, bread and wine, in order to be in communion, in order to be fully human and fully alive.
In this season of appearances, of Christ Haunting, of the flesh and blood encounter with God,
let us celebrate that mystery that gathers us together, that the Lord is Risen Indeed.
Share that invitation, that haunting, be that bread that is broken making Jesus known.
Show up.
The time is upon us indeed!