I went on my first family vacation with my wife’s family (that was fun!) and I got back last night. It was a good time away from work, but I’m back at everything today, including this blog! I have a backlog on ALL my work at this point, so today’s post will be relatively short. Still, it’s really good to be back!
One of the hard things for me this Easter has been being so far away from my mom. She and I always wake up and say, “He is risen!” “The Lord is risen indeed!” first thing in the morning. It’s our tradition. It’s what we do. And this year, there has been no one to do that with. I haven’t even got to talk with my mom this year. It’s pretty depressing, honestly.
Easter is a family holiday. More than Christmas or any of the other holy days, it really has a focus on the extended family. Christmas is an immediate family holiday – we look at a mother, a father, and their first child in that story. But Easter is when the entire family is brought together. Jesus’ resurrection reunites family from everywhere. Just as Christ’s resurrection makes whole the body of the Church, so too do our celebrations of it make whole our own families.
To see this in a strictly religious perspective, it is helpful to look at the lessons for Easter Monday and Easter Tuesday in the prayer book (1928 BCP). In each epistle and gospel, even in the collects, there is an emphasis on togetherness. “Breaking of bread” is a common theme. In the story of the Road to Emmaus, Christ is known in breaking of the bread at the dinner table. The togetherness of a familial meal is key to Christ’s resurrection because it shows how intimately he is a part of us and we of him.
First Week Back
For me, today is my first week back at work and my normal life, but I’m not the only one going back. Two millenia ago, Jesus came back to his life as the first resurrected human being (and fully God). Besides the religious implications and the glory of his full divinity, I wonder what that had to have been like for him. He knew that he would soon be ascending into heaven and that his time was coming to a close. But what else did he want to do with the time he had back on earth?
For me, the story of the Road to Emmaus is telling about Christ’s desire for his time back. He did not initially reveal himself initially, seeming to be just another human guy. He talked with them, he listened to them, joked with them, and laughed and walked with them. Maybe, he just wanted to be with his friends one last time. In a way, maybe Jesus did not want his vacation to end.
I didn’t exactly want my vacation to end either. I liked the beach, the weather, the calm of being able to sit with my book for as long as I wanted without feeling stressed about deadlines or work that won’t get done. I just wanted to enjoy the downtime for a little while longer. But vacation can’t last. Mine couldn’t and Jesus’ couldn’t either. We both had too much work to do for that. Jesus didn’t shirk his duties. But he also didn’t pass up the chance to have some time enjoying himself. As all of us go back to work after Easter vacation, a thought for us all is the role of family in Easter, both for us and for Jesus.