Practicing Resurrection E is for Every Body
Rule # 3 for practicing resurrection: engage your whole body.
We are equipped with a kind of knowing that is not mainly with our minds or cognitive abilities. We also know the world through all our senses, and the fullness of the body itself situates our knowing. We do things like drive a car, hug a friend, wash our hands, recognized someone from our past, walk on a crowded street, without instruction. Whatever verbal teaching we received on these matters is long forgotten (if we ever received any explicit verbal instruction). We don’t operate in most realms by following rules. We’ve taken them into our being, into our bodies. We know in a way that now seems intuitive, without really thinking. Being in the presence of someone we know well includes a kind of awareness, a recognition of their presence that goes beyond words.
The followers and friends of Jesus apparently also struggled, like me, to believe in resurrection. In that first day of the week there was a lot of running around, and shouting, and crying by Peter, John, Mary Magdalene. Then the first embodied presence of Jesus came forth, and Mary tried to tell them what she saw. But even in what she saw initially, she confused Jesus for the gardener. It was her name that brought her to her senses. I get that. She recognized the presence of Jesus with her whole body. Jesus responded with “don’t hold me right now.”
Later the very same day, when the disciples were hiding out together…. well in fact, we don’t know who was there behind the locked doors. Maybe they were arguing with Mary about her crazy story from the morning? It surely was better than all that running around and shouting and crying. Then Jesus showed up again. They all sensed something. He breathed on them. They saw, heard, and experienced a distinct and recognizable presence.
Thomas missed the big moment. He couldn’t – wouldn’t – believe the news. He needed to see, hear and touch for himself. Don’t you know that was a miserable week? Everyone else got in on the moment, and he missed it! The next time Jesus’ followers got together in the upper room, however, Thomas was not going to miss a thing. He didn’t actually need to touch. He experienced a presence from his friend and teacher that went beyond words, and even touch. He recognized Jesus intuitively, with his whole body. When Jesus offered a blessing for all who would believe without seeing, he implied a kind of believing in presence. And when the followers and friends of Jesus get together, the resurrected presence of Christ comes forth among them. It takes a lot of practice, and a fully embodied knowing to recognize that presence. Blessed is every body who practices knowing. May it bring us all peace.