ALVEY: Our Lord is risen

Published 10:27 pm Friday, April 20, 2018

By Jack Alvey | Alvey is the rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church

One of the most unexpected joys of my priestly ministry is giving communion to someone suffering from dementia. When I extend my hand with the wafer and say, “The Body of Christ, The Bread of Heaven” I notice a fundamental change in the encounter.

In that moment, I am reminded that God’s love has the power to break through any barrier or boundary in this world – for Christ is risen from greatest barrier of all:

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Through the Sacrament of Jesus’ Body and Blood, I am freed from anxiety and feel at peace.

And it is my hope that they, too, experience an overwhelming peace.

It is my hope that somewhere deep down in their being they know the real presence of Jesus speaking a word of peace in an existence that must be terribly dark and confusing.

After Jesus’ death, his disciples find themselves in a dark and confusing place, hiding out from the Jewish authorities.

They are afraid the authorities will hand them over to death just like they handed Jesus over to death. But Jesus finds them in their place of fear and says, “Peace be with you.”

Jesus further helps calm their fear by inviting them to touch his hands and feet. Scripture says they were joyful yet in disbelief but still wondering.

How beautiful?

After this, Jesus asks the disciples for some broiled fish.

At our Tuesday Bible study, someone said they were disappointed Jesus asks for broiled fish because they were hoping for fried fish in heaven.

Nonetheless, the eating of fish further solidified that Jesus was not a ghost or a spirit but a living and breathing person.

Jesus’ entire body is resurrected from the dead. This is not a fairytale.

This is not some kind of metaphysical or metaphorical resurrection.

Jesus is alive. Jesus’ physical presence in this world endured death and the grave.

And the Church, by Jesus’ instruction, continues to acknowledge of Jesus’ real presence in the world through the Sacrament of his Body and Blood.

Like the disciples, we, too, live in a dark and confusing world.

We live in a place where we hide behind all kinds of locked doors.

These doors are physical or emotional or spiritual.

We live in a world where so much of our experience is shaped by fear, shaped by the absence of peace.

But as Christians our words and actions are inspired by a hope that defies all odds because we follow and proclaim a Lord and Savior whose words and actions defied all odds.

As Christians, we possess a faith that believes hope is more powerful than fear for our Lord is risen from the dead.

In the Risen Christ, we are given reason to believe that hope for something better is not simply a wish dream but a reality.

Jesus has unlocked the door to this new creation.

If we do choose to enter into this new creation, through the flesh and blood of Jesus, we become the hands and feet of Jesus in the world.

We become the resurrected body of Jesus speaking the liberating words of peace to a world that is hiding out in fear.

We become witnesses to the truth that God’s love is the most powerful force of change this world has ever and will ever see.