The evangelists put their books together by compiling material from the various
written and oral traditions which were available to them. (Perhaps many of the oral
traditions had already been written down). No attempt was made to harmonize the various
traditions of resurrection stories. Perhaps the Gospel writers thought that each story was
to precious to waste. Different people had different memories of their encounters with the
risen. In time these memories were shaped by various theological perspectives so they
became even more difficult to harmonize. However, one theme runs through them all surprise.
Everyone who encountered the risen lord was astonished, as well they might have been. Even
though we have heard these stories many times during the Easter seasons, we should try to
experience once again the surprise of the first followers of Jesus. One might also note
that if the stories had been written down today and we heard them for the first time, we
would be shocked by the roles women played. Feminists must have written these stories, we
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Once upon a time a young man came home from a prisoner of war
camp who had been reported killed in action. His family and his buddies and
even his girl friend had mourned him as dead and then more or less got over
their grief. His sudden reappearance was disconcerting to say the least.
They had all loved him, but they had in effect written him out of their
lives. His girl friend was engaged to marry someone else. Moreover, he
didnít seem like the boy who had gone off to war. He was thin and haggard
and haunted. However, he was now mature, self-possessed, and, astonishingly,
happy. He hadnít smiled much as a kid and rarely joked. Now he was witty and
ebullient all the time. A quiet kid had become an outgoing adult man. He
didnít fit in the patterns of relationships he had left behind. Quite the
contrary, his happiness and maturity were unsettling. He congratulated his
former girl friend on her coming marriage and shook hands cordially with the
fiancťe. Thereís something wrong with him, everyone said. His family went to
the priest. There sure is, he priest said, he has risen from the dead and
now acts like a saint.
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Psalm 118:1-2, 16-17,22-23
1 O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his
steadfast love endures for ever!
2 Let Israel say, "His steadfast love endures for ever."
16 the right hand of the LORD is exalted, the right hand of the LORD does
17 I shall not die, but I shall live, and recount the deeds of the LORD.
22 The stone which the builders rejected has become the head of the corner.
23 This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
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