Easter Sunday. Acts 10: 34-43. 1 Corinth. 5: 6-8. John 20: 1-9.
What happened at the scene of Christ's resurrection is depicted in many a stain glass window in many of the world's Christian churches; some with guards strewn over the ground as the risen Jesus came majestically out of the tomb. But none of the evangelists ever described that scene. They narrate only the discovery of the empty tomb, messages from angels and the risen Jesus' later appearances. We have no 'resurrection narratives'. Why?
Mainly, I think, because our sacred authors believed that it really was a resurrection and not a resuscitation. We need to keep that distinction in mind: when someone is resuscitated they return to life pretty much the same person he or she was when they died. For instance, when Lazarus is 'resuscitated', he is the same person he was when he died, only three day older! If cameras or camcorders existed 2000 years ago, they could have recorded that event. But not so what happened on Easter Sunday - a camcorder would simply have shown a tomb. As Paul reminded his communities, a risen person becomes a new creation: he or she is completely free from all the limits that restrict us humans. So, as Paul pointed out to his Galatian Christians, the Risen Christ is no longer 'Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. he is simply 'other'.
That is why Jesus' resurrection is a matter of faith - an event only people of faith can perceive. The Risen Jesus can only be experienced by those who do what is necessary to surface such an individual. And how I you/ I do that? The answer, I believe, lies in that Easter morning event when Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome come 'to anoint his body'. When they get to the tomb, they see that it is already open. Coming closer they see 'a young man dressed in white' who calms them of their fears and announces something that they never would have suspected: 'You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth. he isn't here. he is risen'.
But if he not in the tomb, where can he be found? It is then that the young man reminds the women of something that Jesus had earlier told them: 'He goes ahead of you to Galilee. There you will meet him'. Return to Galilee. Why? What is this about?
Is it, that the risen Christ can't be seen/ experienced unless we go back and experience what in his life brought Jesus to crucifixion and resurrection. If we don't enter into his dying and rising (and do so each day) they the 'resurrection' remains only a lofty doctrine, a sacred dogma, and we will never experience Jesus alive in us.
Galilee had been Jesus' main place for action. It was there he initiated his 'movement'. It was there his first followers had seen him heal, forgive, welcome everyone (especially the marginalized) and had awaken a new hope in everyone. Now we his followers need/ must do the same - the same as what Paul constantly and consistently reminded his communities - 'Clear out the old yeast, so that you may become a fresh batch of dough'. We must experience a complete reversal of our value systems.
What is most decisive in experiencing the Risen Christ, isn't the study of theology or the celebration of liturgy (Important as they are), but the faithful following of Jesus - commitment to the person of Jesus and his mission and message.
And we are not alone. The Resurrected One goes before us. And we will go about seeing him if we walk in his footsteps - wholehearted commitment to the person of Jesus and to his mission an message.