Did you ever notice in the Easter accounts nobody finds the risen Lord? The risen Christ comes to them! The most the women find is a rolled stone, an empty grave, and a messenger. The disciples run but only see a used shroud in the vacant tomb. Left to our efforts alone, we only find the absence of Jesus, the empty tomb, memories of the used-to-be Jesus, or nothing more than doubts like Thomas.
But there is more. The risen Lord comes to us. He speaks forgiveness and sets a mission as to Peter on the shore. He knows our true identity and calls us by our name, as with Mary in the garden. He somehow gains entrance past the doors we’ve locked out of fear and gives us peace. He comes as to Thomas and we begin to doubt our doubts.
He opens Scripture and our hearts burn, as those two on the way to Emmaus. Or, like those two, we recognize his presence when we’re showing hospitality.
Like all those to whom the risen Christ came, we may not immediately recognize our Lord. As Jesus told in the parable, in the final judgment the good and the selfish alike will ask, “When saw we thee?”
But Jesus left the promise. “Lo, I am with you always.” Even when we don’t perceive the presence.
A Celtic Rune of Hospitality
We saw a stranger yesterday.
We put food in the eating place,
Drink in the drinking place,
Music in the listening place.
And with the sacred name of the triune God
He blessed us and our house,
Our cattle and our dear ones.
As the lark says in her song:
Often, often, often, goes the Christ
In the stranger’s guise.