Tuesday scripture: Luke 24:30-31 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight.
Today's verse comes from the end of the gospel of Luke. It records the moments when Cleopas and his friend realized that Jesus, risen from the grave, had been with them on their entire journey from Jerusalem to Emmaus. Cleopas and his friend had left Jerusalem after the crucifixion of Jesus. The journey to Emmaus was one of despondency and hopelessness. Faith was lost for these two men because Jesus was lost and so they were going back to life as usual. The impossible, that Jesus was God's breath of life, God's word of creation, in the flesh, Emmanuel, God with them, was just that, impossible. But the impossible became possible and Jesus's faithfulness is vindicated by God and he rises and they see him when he shares a meal with them in Emmaus.
This is just one of many amazing impossible stories that greet us in the Easter morning stories from the gospels. And they record for us amazing, miraculous and mysterious impossibilities. In Mark, we do not hear from Jesus directly. But the tomb is empty and Jesus has left a message for the disciples, and for Peter specifically, to follow him to Galilee and meet him there. Peter, who betrayed Jesus and abandoned him, is specifically welcomed. The impossibility of reconciliation after betrayed trust and broken heart is possible. We've already heard from Luke and the story of Jesus's appearance on the Emmaus road. John contains a few resurrection stories. Thomas, who doubts that Jesus is alive after crucifixion, for he knows what is possible and what is impossible, has the experience of faith instead of doubt when Jesus appears. The disciples, who have gone back to being fisherman, have the experience of risking the new instead of going back to the safe and settled when Jesus appears to them. And Peter in this gospel, much as in Mark, is invited back into relationship with Jesus and then given his mission, his vocation, to feel Jesus's sheep. So Jesus impossibly brings purpose to one who was shamed. On Easter morning, God not only vindicated Jesus by giving him risen life but God also, through this resurrection hope, called the disciples to new life as well. A life in doubt becomes faith, despondency becomes hope, alienation becomes reconciliation, the unknown future calls instead of the past or the settled now, and we find meaning and purpose after failure and shame.
The point of this quick review of resurrection stories and the theology that springs from them is to remind us that each Sunday is a little Easter. The early church decided to make their Sabbath the resurrection day of Jesus. And I would suggest that the function of Easter day celebrated not just once a year, but every week is similar to the celebration of Passover. It serves to ask us where we have come from and where we are going. On Easter, unexpectedly, the forces that restrict life in all its fullness, doubt, despair, fear, and apathy were amazingly overcome. We celebrate Easter Sunday as a way of remembering and re-enacting that moment when life unexpectedly defeated death.