I love the joyful celebration that is Easter Sunday and I’ve come to love the Sunday that follows it, too. Easter shines as the pinnacle of our faith, pointing to what only God would do. Only God would come as Emmanuel—God with us! The cross and the resurrection show us how far God will go to redeem God’s creation. The depth of God’s love reaches out in unimaginable ways. God turns death back to life, despair to hope, meaninglessness to sacred vocation.
How fitting that the height of Easter Sunday is tempered by the text on the Sunday after. Today’s verses tell how it really was for the disciples after Jesus died. We need to consider these real people whose loss, fear, and grief blinded them to an unexpected reality.
That reality? Based on the force of the biblical narrative, to say that Jesus came and stood among them (v. 19) is not so much to say that Jesus was able to walk through doors and walls, but that he had been in the room all the while. In their pain, fear, grief, and anxiety, they could not see him. They do not recognize him until he utters four powerful words: “Peace be with you!” (v. 19).
On the one hand, I find great comfort in their inability to see the Lord. I can trust that God is always present, though sometimes silent. When I am struggling with painful, unimaginable realities, I want to remember the reaction of the disciples, who hang on and keep going. Like these who loved Jesus dearly, I want to know the power of the Resurrection that transforms bewildered, fearful disciples into a community who will become like Christ to the world.
When have I felt great loss and needed God’s presence and peace? When have I been too anxious to see God is always with me, though sometimes silent?
God, give me courage and insight to know you are with me and that you are the only source of peace I need. Amen.