Bradley E. Schmeling
Bradley E. Schmeling serves on the pastoral staff at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in St. Paul, Minnesota.
I learned many Bible stories by watching movies in Sunday school. They were those old-fashioned movies, shown on a reel-to-reel projector, that tried to portray the stories as some Cecil B. DeMille wannabe imagined they took place. They were seldom more than a few steps grander than the local Christmas pageant; most of the disciples basically wore fancy bathrobes. The Pentecost movie was dramatic.
From Easter morning until Ascension Thursday, Jesus is present and absent, enfleshed and distant, there and not there. He breaks bread and disappears. He shows up like a ghost, and then eats fish like everyone else. At the end of the story he blesses them, and then he withdraws. It’s striking that the disciples’ response, rather than to be confused or bothered by this yes and no of resurrection, is to head back to Jerusalem and worship with great joy. I think I would have wanted more.
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