It ain’t ova!
Eastertide, the season of Easter: Fifty days of wonder as an impossible story spreads in ripples and waves and soon everyone knows someone who knows someone who saw him or touched him. In Easter week, Jesus is walking through walls (Monday), having a fish barbeque on the beach (Tuesday), opening minds to understand the Scriptures in their new post-resurrection context (Wednesday), going fishing and filling nets to bursting (Thursday). With Friday the one week anniversary of his brutal death comes and we revisit Mary’s encounter with the risen Christ and ponder this most extraordinary week. On Saturday we remember the risen Christ appearing to his female disciples and sending them to find his male disciples in hiding and proclaim to them the good news, to preach the gospel to them.
And then comes Sunday, the one week anniversary of the triumph of life over death, of love over hate, of the power of the Holy Spirit over the might of empire. Imagine with me. Using my sanctified imagination, I look back and see groups of disciples and their families and friends and neighbors gathering to tell the story. Mary and the other Mary and Susanna and Johanna and that other Mary and Mary Magdalene all preaching the gospel of a God whose love transcends death. Of Jesus as the living, still living, yet again living, embodiment of that love. I imagine Peter trying to follow suit and getting heckled for abandoning Jesus. I imagine it won’t be long until the male disciples start telling a story that is not theirs because they were in hiding.
There would have been no previously existing liturgy for that first Sunday in Eastertide. They would create their own of word and table. They would tell the story and like all such gatherings, they would feast before, during, after. And, at some point, someone would repeat the words that Jesus said, taking a loaf of bread in her hand, she would say, “This is my body that is broken for you. This is my blood, the cup of the new covenant that is poured out for you.” And in my womanist womanish sanctified imagination, I see the Ever-Blessed Virgin Mary offering the sacrament, this first eucharist, once again offering the body and blood of her holy child to the world, this time with joy.