The six weeks following Easter are known as Eastertide. We don't think of that anymore. We barely even realize that some of the world celebrates Easter Monday as a holiday. But yes, Easter is such a great season in the church that it does indeed last more than one day. It stretches out for 6 full weeks. This is the time of the liturgical color white. This is also the time that we come to the the stories in the gospel when Jesus appeared the the disciples after his resurrection. I call these the appearance stories.
The appearance stories are set apart from the rest of the gospel. Jesus rarely interacts with people like he does before his death. He talks, he eats, he sleeps, he touches and he is touched. The stories affirm his full post resurrection body. He is not a ghost or a Spirit. He does not appear in a blue outline like Obi Wan Kenobi. But there is no doubt that he is different. He walks through doors and walls. His disciples that have known and loved him some times recognize him, and sometimes don't. Mary knows his voice but doesn't recognize his body. In ways that are hard to measure, he is also different. Some have observed that he is more solid in his physical structure, he is more real in his encounters, and he is perhaps more fully himself than ever before, even as he is known in the scars.
This connection of being known AND of knowing his disciples to the core, this is one of recurring themes of the appearance stories. For Eastertide, our sermon series will focus on these accounts. What did it mean for the disciples that they knew Jesus, even as they were known by him? How did they grow in their understanding of who he was? And how did he meet them right where they were?
In our world today, there is being known, and then there is something different. There is being known in love. When we are known in love, we are allowed to be fully human. We are allowed to be loved and to love others. This relationship of knowing and being known, this is what Easter paves the way for. It really takes a life time to explore this road. But we have six weeks to uncover just what happens as we are #known.