The earliest versions of the resurrection story are called “empty tomb” stories. The witnesses, all women, don’t encounter the Risen Jesus at all, but only an angel, who tells them that Jesus is not here. They are not clear what that means, but, for the most part, they run to tell the other disciples and this is the beginning of Resurrection faith. In other stories, Mary Magdalene encounters the resurrected Jesus and thinks He’s the gardener. Other disciples aren’t anywhere near the tomb, but traveling on the road and at one point become aware that the Risen Jesus is among them. More pointedly, Paul, who wrote his account of the experience of the Risen Christ before any of the Gospels were written, sees a light, and hears a voice. He is not even a believer in Jesus, but his encounter with the Risen Christ changes the direction of his life. This is what ties the resurrection stories together. Not what the Risen Christ looked like or his miraculous acts, but in each case the witness is changed by the encounter. This is one of the meanings of the Resurrection. In a way, we are resurrected; that is we begin a new life through our encounter in faith with Jesus who is Risen.
This is the Good News that Paul brings to the communities he founds. We are all witnesses of the resurrection and now we live a new life, a resurrected Life because of it. He goes so far as to say, You are the Body ( read Person ) of Christ, each of you is a member of it. He is speak- ing to those who had not heard Jesus speak, or seen the signs He per- formed, but Paul is adamant that this is not critical. If we will believe and let the Spirit in, we are all witness and participants of the Resurrection.
So it is with every genera on, and it is true in our own me as well. You, dear reader, are witnesses to the Resurrection as much as Mary Magdelene or those travelers on the road to Emmaus. You are invited to life; a new life of grace, reconciliation, forgiveness and peace. Despite what the world tells us we are, or when it tries to convince us of its power ; REJOICE, He has overcome the World, and WE are witnesses to it. ALLELUIA!
Rev. Ray Bonin