I was thinking, as I typed the title, that I may have legal correspondence from Tip Top about poaching their idea. It rises (bakery pun) from a series of conversations following Easter this year, both within and without worship.
Rather than an orderly event, in which the disciples noted the Easter happenings step by step, the resurrection accounts bear all the marks of chaos. We’ve noted the stones being rolled away and then after the rolling; women and men running to and from the empty tomb, various accounts of angels (men? messengers?) appearing in the tomb and nearby.
And then the risen crucified One.
Fear, disbelief, belief and wonder mark all the stories. In Mark’s original account it seems the Gospel ended with the words
So [the women] went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
The accounts read like the various reports from witnesses after a major event. People who were there first, then later, offer various, layered renditions. Interpretation grows as more people hear – and experience – the event. People remember bits and pieces of what Jesus said before he died and some find the whole thing impossible “But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.” (Luke 24.11).
There are even (understandable) rumours that someone has stolen the body, and many fingers are pointed at the authorities.
As I mentioned on Easter morning, the creation story has God making order out of chaos, and now, in this new creation, God is making chaos out of order.
So, is it surprising that two bewildered disciples are trying to make some sense of things and fail to recognise (the resurrected) Jesus as they wander along their strugglesome journey?
In Luke’s Gospel, despite all the events, this is the first appearance of the risen Jesus. However, it’s not the rebuke from Jesus which sharpens their vision, or the textual and hermenuetical analysis as they walk. It seems that their eyes are still “clouded” and they remain unaware. Until.
Is it the blessing of the bread, or is it the breaking? The answer is, yes. Is it the reminder of what Jesus has done before he died, or the movement of the Spirit now? Yes.
The bread is broken; they see and begin to understand. They take the road back to town to let everyone know, but it takes a few more appearances before everyone seems to be on board.
Why? Because resurrection is hard to accept, to believe.
Whenever we try to explain resurrection, to sort it out, we are doing precisely what we cannot do – make rational sense of God breaking the laws of death and life.
Resurrection is God’s new creation. Life is stronger than death. We meet the risen Jesus in forgiveness and reconciliation, we meet the risen Christ is moments of grace and wonder beyond describing. We meet Jesus, crucified and raised, in the broken bread, where we proclaim the mystery of our faith:
Christ has died. Christ has risen. Christ will come again.