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Kimberly Knight Kimberly Knight

Kimberly Knight is the online organizer for the Beatitudes Society. A graduate of Candler School of Theology, she is the pastor of Koinonia Fellowship, an online church at Second Life.

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United Church of Christ


Encountering Jesus

April 25, 2009

Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures...

It has been said "The resurrection is the fulcrum of faith. The resurrection is the axis, the center, the core, the pivot point of faith for a Christian. If there is no resurrection of Jesus, then Christianity is just another ancient religion with its own particular form of spirituality and morality. The truth of Christianity hinges on the resurrection"  So here we are, the community of believers assembled to celebrate the resurrection.  So, what can we say about the resurrection? Nothing, not one thing.  There is not one word, one syllable that I can utter about the resurrection.  Anything I say about the resurrection would be myth, illustration, magical fantasy.  Why?  Because our gospels just don't give us that.  There are no descriptions of the event of the resurrection.  No hidden camera in the tomb that illumines the moment when Christ defeated the bonds of death. 

And let's be clear, it's not because scripture shies away from descriptions of that which words cannot describe.  No, our ancestors invite us into all manner of miraculous occurrences.  We have stood astonished in the presence of a bush aflame with the voice of God, we survived plagues and walked through a huge body of water parted to allow us to pass out of slavery and into God's freedom.  In our doubt, we've tasted manna from heaven, we heard the voice of God at the mountain-top, we saw terrible fires and felt powerful winds.  In witness to the days of Jesus we encountered angels and devils and we were taken back to the mountain-top to see Jesus transfigured into the radiating light of God that is true life.  Why then don't we see the resurrection?  Where are the pure white rays of light beaming from the lifeless body of Jesus?  Where are the sounds of rushing wind or heat from the fire of God?  Where is the detailed depiction of the re-animation of the body of Christ?  

Nowhere - not one word.  

What then do we have? How do we learn about, hear about, and come to believe in the resurrection?

What we do know is that the tomb was empty and that his followers proclaimed his resurrection because they encountered the crucified Jesus alive.   We are told of believing disciples who could not touch him and a doubting disciple who placed his fingers in the wounds. We walk with two on a journey far from the death and destruction of Golgotha and break bread with the stranger revealed as Jesus.    The experience of the risen lord by the individual or community IS that which needs telling.  

The fundamental record around which the Christian universe spins is the experience of finding the tomb empty and encountering the risen Christ in our midst.  How do we begin to understand what it means to encounter the risen Christ and why is it so hard to recognize him when he is in our midst?  How can we learn to see Jesus in our midst?

 Have you heard of the Emmaus Walk Retreat?  If not you might like what you read, if so, the link below included a search for Emmaus Walks around the US.

"The Walk to Emmaus is a spiritual renewal program intended to strengthen the local church through the development of Christian disciples and leaders. The program's approach seriously considers the model of Christ's servanthood and encourages Christ's disciples to act in ways appropriate to being "a servant of all.""

Click Here to Visit the Emmaus Walk Information Web Page

Click Here to Find an Emmaus Community Near You

 


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