P.S. “Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. These returned and reported it to the rest, but they did not believe them either. (Mark 15:12,13)”
It is still Easter day or evening and Mark has a postscript after his account of Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene at the tomb. Jesus is risen but the disciples did not believe. It seems that the Gospel of Mark ended here but a postscript was added including other appearances of the risen Jesus. Matthew and John do not mention this incident but Luke fills in missing details. Luke wants us to remember these two people.
“Afterward.” Do you remember what you did Easter afternoon – watch a football game on TV? Have a family gathering – properly spaced of course? Organized yourself for the next day? After a big event there is often the wind down, perhaps the move on to the next expectation, or “the debrief.” I remember coming home from church and we would talk about the sermon. In order to get my nickel allowance for the week, I was expected to remember the sermon and report in. In the narrative we will ponder this week, two people are walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, a small town about seven miles away, and debriefing the events of the day.
What senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell, or touch – do you suppose were aroused in them by the resurrection story that now stimulated their conversation? What is it about Easter morning that captures you imagination “afterwards;” the trumpets that told your ears to wake up, the pancake breakfast that woke-up your tongue, the beautiful spring outfits that impressed your eyes, or the warmth of a hug from a friend who greeted, “He is risen!” Easter is an experience that captures not only our thughts but also our bodies because it talks about something real. These two people walking along a dusty road, discussing the death of their hero and a possible missing body were so intent in their conversation they did not even look when someone joined them.
“Afterwards,” is also today, Monday. Perhaps as the Mamas and Papas sang in their song about Monday, we can identify with that sense of lostness that follows a huge disappointment – a death – the weight of the soul, the burning eyes from crying, the slump of the shoulders and the questions that swirl in our hearts. We know this feeling of Easter evening or Monday morning. Perhaps the challenge for us this week is to connect the experience of the disciples with the feelings we have in hearing about the death of heroes like Prince Phillip, or friends from Covid or the loss of a job or the trials going on in our courts over racial injustice and murder, to connect that heaviness we feel as we try to understand the news with the heaviness these two people were feeling as they walked.
They were not alone but they did not recognize it yet. We are not alone but perhaps we cannot feel that yet. They processed with each other and perhaps we need a friend to listen or we need to be a friend who listens. “Afterwards” for any impacting event in our life, it is good to take time to ponder, to discuss, to grieve if necessary, and to try and figure out what comes next. Life can be very confusing but Jesus walks with us even if we do not recognize him. Hopefully there are friends to reach out to when we are ready. Blessings as you face the challenges of this week and process with a friend. Jesus is there with you.