In the Flesh

“Christ is risen; he is risen indeed.” Now, what? We return to our homes and to business as usual.  

Jesus said, “It is finished.” So, what is left for his disciples to do?  

Hands in pockets, we meander and kick rocks. With the stone removed from Jesus’ grave, the angels have done the heavy lifting. 

With hands cupping our faces, what more is there to say? “Jesus came. He died. He is risen!”

Have the disciples been left high and dry? No leader, they start looking through the classifieds. 

They have seen the miraculous. How can they return to the mundane?

Jesus has fed thousands of people; they will never look at fish the same way. Judas has betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver; they see money differently now. Jesus has invited women into the circle; they can’t just close them off now.

They cannot pretend they have not been changed. They are not the same people.  

Yes, it has only been three years, but on the other side of walking on water, they are different people now. They have seen too much to cover their eyes and pretend they do not see Jesus in all things. 

The disciples have heard the very voice of God. Now the chatter of Caesar’s kingdom just keeps up a racket. They listen now for the “sound of the genuine” as Howard Thurman would say.

But Jesus has not gone missing. He’s not doing shows, but he is making appearances—first to the women who share the good news of his resurrection and then to the other disciples.

Hands in pockets, maybe Jesus is taking the long way back to heaven. Perhaps, there is really no “highway to heaven.” Because if there were, he would have gotten there quicker. 

Jesus has a routine now; his hands and feet now act as I.D.: “Look at my hands and my feet; see that it is I myself. Touch me and see; for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39).

This is not God second hand or God passed down, but God in person. Jesus is God bearing witness.

With fish breath, Jesus says to the disciples, “You are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:48). “You’ve seen something so say something.” 

And you don’t need to pinch yourself.  Because here I am in the flesh.

Have you ever had an experience that was seemingly too good to be true? Where you felt, “This is not happening right now or to me? This cannot be real; it must be a dream.”

“I have to pinch myself.” This happens when we must convince our flesh that something good or pleasurable is happening to us.  

It is an interesting commentary that we are familiar with suffering and believe ourselves when we feel bad or down and out. But when something good happens to us, it is unbelievable.

“I have to pinch myself.” Because reality is doubtable. Because we are surprised by the sight and sound of goodness.

Real or imagined, we think it is just our imagination. It is a flight of fancy and we will need to come down from this. 

We tell ourselves, “Let’s not get too excited. Let’s not get our hopes up.”

But the pinch is felt. Our flesh bears witness to the moment and creates the memory.  

We can be sure this is happening and there is no going back. Moving forward, we will have to include this experience of goodness and its companioning awareness. So, what do we do when we have been in the presence of goodness personified?

Because we cannot walk with Jesus and avoid crossing boundaries or burned bridges. Not known for dragging his feet, Jesus says, “Follow me” not “after you.”  

Change things is what Jesus came to do: “offer them the other cheek”; “give them a makeover”; “rearrange the social order”; “give them money and a loan”; “go the extra mile”; “love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:39-44).

Not merely giving us things to do, Jesus destroyed temple property and challenged peeping Pharisees who only had eyes for the woman committing adultery and the people’s expectation of God. Jesus left nothing and no one the same. I imagine his mother, Mary, pinched herself every day, and the days following the resurrection would have been no different.

Now, our days follow the resurrection, but what is different? We know the oppressive patterns of the empire and its crucifying power. 

We see the people of Haiti pinned between the two thieves of violence and despair in a menacing and dehumanizing system. We see the bodies of Palestinians crushed and covered under stone buildings. 

We see that boys and girls have been

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