It’s just after 6 a.m. when I pull into the church parking lot. It’s still dark, and the steady rain makes me glad we decided to hold the sunrise service inside. I’m balancing a vase of daffodils for the communion table between my knees, and I’m hoping my good brown shoes are under the desk in my office, because they weren’t under my bed at home.
Each of the four Gospels’ depictions of the first encounter with the resurrected Christ suggests a different lens for perceiving the risen one. In Matthew, Christ’s resurrection looks like a theophany—earthquake and blazing light—and Christ appears suddenly and vividly to disciples on the run and on the mountain. In Luke, the risen Christ is first encountered as a peripatetic teacher and finally recognized in the breaking of bread. Mark apparently included no straightforward account of the risen Christ at all.
And in the Gospel of John, Christ rises from the ground in a springtime garden.
the morning when she finds the tomb empty leaps from her the way the first spry geyser sprang from the Titanic. She bangs her knee and ducks to look again. Her adviser, John, warned her it was dangerous to come. Holed up behind locked doors, the gang of guys who claimed to love him. She runs her thumb across the ledge where his dead body lies.
Or rather doesn’t. Her heart’s a cypress forming a final growth ring, final grief: his body gone, his lithe hand, the small scar from the sharp chisel. To what can she say yes? Who is she now? Where to put belief? Her cry gashes the fragile morning air.