Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
And that changes everything-backwards and forwards.
Our story-the world’s story-is rewritten in this moment. Everything that came before means something a little different now-everything needs to be re-remembered in light of this new fact.
Consider the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, walking sadly and fearfully away from Jerusalem, away from their hopes and their dreams, away from their friends, away from their dead and disgraced, and now disappeared, teacher. They had thought they’d known the story-a story of God’s triumph manifest in the annointed one, gloriously, powerfully liberating God’s people and revealing the might of the God of Abraham and Jacob. But instead, it turned out to be a story of false hope, of the frailty of human life, the weakness of human friendship, of the immensity and invulnerability of empire.
How dreadful that road must have been.
Until a man appears-a man who helps them hear the familiar stories of their faith in a new way and returns some hope, some faith in their crucified master. Suddenly, everything they thought they knew seems a little bit different and their memories of the last few days all have to be rethought. Suddenly, the possibilities for the future seem a little bit bigger. Their hearts that had, just moments ago, been heavy and aching are now burning within them-filled with a passion they don’t understand.
Until the man takes bread, blesses and breaks it, and gives it to them.
Then, all of a sudden, they see him for who he is-their own beloved Jesus, risen from the dead, and they understand their burning hearts-hearts that knew their teacher, even if their eyes did not.
And everything changes.
The sad story they shared with the stranger on the road changes. The story of God’s presence in the world changes. The story of their future changes…and they turn back, back to Jerusalem, back to their community, back to the promises of God.
Jesus is risen. Everything is possible. Fear and hate and violence have been revealed for what they are-shallow and empty and, ultimately, powerless in the face of the glory of God. Peace and love and hope and faith are revealed to be stronger than we could ever have imagined.
But that’s not all-the story is not simply ended with an alleluia and a happily ever after. Because Jesus isn’t just risen. Jesus is here-on the road, in the Scripture, at the table, in bread and wine and friendship. The promise has not simply been fulfilled-it is still being fulfilled.
Jesus is here. Don’t worry about whether or not you can see him-you can feel him, burning in your heart. The promise is still unfolding, revealing itself in our own lives as we learn how to tell our stories and the stories of the whole world in the light of Jesus’ resurrection.
Jesus is here-and now, everything is possible-more, in fact, than we could possibly ask or imagine.
Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!
The Rev. Rhonda Waters is associate priest of Christ Church Cathedral, diocese of Montreal.