Around the Next Corner

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Jesus loved life. The Easter season focuses on the fully divine Jesus but woven through the post-resurrection stories, we can still see his full humanity as well.

Jesus loved people. He loved his friends. He loved the poor, the marginalized, women, and children; he loved listening to their stories and sharing their meals. He loved a good party as well as quieter times with friends and followers.

On the night he was betrayed, Jesus prayed for more time as a human being among his fellow humans; he prayed that his death be postponed: “Let this cup pass from me.”  He wasn’t ready to give up his mortal life, although he added, “not my will but yours be done.”

In recent years, I’ve begun to wonder if perhaps the forty days between the resurrection and ascension not only provided an affirmation of the divinity of Jesus but also perhaps offered Jesus a time to say goodbye to the life he had loved. The few recorded post-resurrection stories include unexpected appearances, shared meals (breakfast on the beach is my favorite), and deep conversations: a mix of teachings, admonishments, compassion, and commissions. But most of those forty days remain unrecorded. Just as we don’t know the details of Jesus’s growing-up years, we don’t know many details of his final days on earth.

But I like to imagine them.

I like to imagine that during those forty days after his resurrection, Jesus traveled incognito, that he spent time watching sunrise and moonset and tasting wild grapes. Surely, he would have joined a gathering of beggars and shared a meal with them. I hope he crashed a party where he drank wine and danced with the bride. The Mormons posit that Jesus visited what is now North America after his resurrection, and while that seems unlikely to me, I do rather like the idea of Jesus in his post-resurrection body being able to experience other ethnicities and traditions. After all, “God so loved the world,” this whole beautiful, complicated, fragile world. Surely our risen Lord might have wanted to see more of it. Although no longer a mortal among mortals, Jesus is still here with us: in the eucharist, in our worship, as we seek and serve him in one another. But in these strange and largely-unaccounted-for fifty days of Eastertide, I like to imagine that we might also encounter him around the next corner.

— Mary Lee Wile

Photo: Christ at the Home of Martha and Mary, Georg Friedrich Stettnerm, (1600s), Public Domain

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