We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Struggles in dealing with issues of the risen Christ – the SALT blog

1 The gospel readings for these first three weeks of the season focus on stories of the risen Jesus appearing to his followers; the next four weeks will explore Jesus’ teachings about intimacy with God. The implication of this order of readings is that the Easter season isn’t just about the astonishing “wow!” of Jesus’ rising; it’s also — and preeminently — about the equally astonishing invitation for human beings to rise into greater intimacy and life together with God.

2 As we saw last week, a recurring theme in the resurrection appearance stories is how early Christian communities struggle to perceive and believe. Jesus has come back, but only a few have eyes to see; even his disciples need help recognizing him. What’s more, Jesus not only seems to look different; he also vanishes into thin air (Luke 24:31) and walks through locked doors (John 20:19). Is he some kind of spirit or ghost? This week’s passage in Luke addresses this question directly.

3 “Touch me and see,” Jesus says, directly addressing fears and doubts that, rather than a resurrected Jesus, they were actually seeing a ghost: “for a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39). Thus Luke frames Jesus’ act of showing his wounds as not only an act of demonstrating who he is (as in, “look, I’m the one you saw crucified”) but also an act of demonstrating his physicality (as in, “look, I’m a human being, not an ethereal spirit”).

4 Why was a physical resurrection important to early followers of Jesus? The Christmas witness is that God becomes flesh and dwells among us, clarifying that the physical world is indeed both “very good” (Genesis 1:31) and well-suited to being indwelt by divine presence and power. In this way, the physical Incarnation and the physical resurrection — Christmas and Easter — are bookends around the radiant good news that creation is profoundly, irradicably good. And second, the physicality of the resurrection underlines its astonishing, miraculous character, its sheer impossibility, and so strengthens its status as a decisive sign of the dawning of God’s realm (and of many more “impossibilities” to come).