I’ve always found it interesting that there is sometimes the attitude among Christians that the Easter story is the conclusion of the story of Jesus’ earthly life. While it is true that any story pales in comparison to the stunning tale of the empty tomb and resurrection, at the same time, the forty days betweenEaster and Jesus’ ascension into heaven was a time when the risen Jesus seemed to be all over the place—breaking into locked rooms, teaching the disciples how to more successfully fish, forgiving them when that was the last thing they deserved, breaking bread at a dinner, and perhaps most importantly, giving us the Great Commission (“go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”)
As we’ve given some attention to these stories in worship these weeks after Easter, I am realizing again that we forget these stories at our own peril. For when we realize that Easter is not the end of Jesus’ earthly story, we can only come to the conclusion that the risen Christ, with all of the hope and forgiveness that he brings, still is “all over the place” today. When we hear these stories as those who still experience his presence with us, we get the full power of the Easter event. And as those who like to call ourselves “Easter people”, we can really only do so if we profess a belief that Easter wasn’t a one-time event long ago, but an ongoing promise of God’s new life through Christ working in us and through us.