Meeting the Risen Jesus at Supper

220417 Easter Sunday C
April 17, 2022
Sermon: “Meeting the Risen Jesus at Supper”
Rev. Kristian Wold
Alleluia!  Christ is risen!
Christ is risen indeed.  Alleluia!
Friends, this is a day of great rejoicing. This day 
Christ is risen from the dead: trampling down death by death;
            and upon those in the tombs bestowing life.
Today is the eighth day of the week, when God’s creation of a good and beautiful world is at last complete; the new heavens and the new earth Isaiah spoke of begin today. Today is also the first day of the week, the dawning of a new creation of life and beauty and joy with no more the sound of weeping or the cry of distress. Today Christ the bridegroom calls to his bride, the church:
            Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away;
            for lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.
            The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come.
I heard this call in the singing of the robins as I opened the church this morning.
So we arise, and we come to church this morning—some of us exuberantly and eager to shed the trappings of the tomb that Covid has bound us in these past two years; and some of us warily, worrying that we’re not out of this yet and wondering just how we should be. Yet here we are, together! Looking for Jesus. Seeking to experience his living presence in our lives. Longing for even just a taste of the renewal promised by Isaiah. Is that to be found, here, today? Angels have told us that the living Jesus is no longer among the dead because he has risen. But now where do we look? Where is this risen Christ?
He is in, he is at… a meal.
This Easter weekend, in 2022, it has stood out for me more than ever that we meet the risen Jesus at meals, when we eat together as his disciples.
Maybe it’s because during the past 40 days of Lent I’ve been trying to practice a fast, a daily 16-hour abstinence from food, and as a result eating has been a lot on my mind. Maybe it’s because of the reading I’m doing for the current course of my doctoral program, on the origins of the Eucharist, and the way the first Christians normally gathered for evening dinners in remembrance of Jesus. Maybe it’s because with the easing of Covid restrictions I’ve finally been able to gather, now and then, with a friend for lunch, extended family for a supper, and friends for their celebratory meal. (This very weekend…) Whatever the reason, food and eating seem to have been on my mind, and I seem to be seeing how Jesus meets us at the table, not only at the altar of the Eucharist, but also in the everyday gatherings we have with others when we connect and communicate, heart-to-heart. Where is the risen Christ? At our tables every day.
We felt this three days ago, on Maundy Thursday when we gathered here in the church for a meal, by Jesus’ command. We ate soup and bread, with bread and cheese and wine, and we remembered the many meals Jesus shared during his life and ministry on earth:
-       bringing blessing and joy to a wedding feast at Cana by the changing of water into wine
-       feeding more than 5000 people in the wilderness with just two fish and five loaves of bread 
-       meeting tax collectors, sinners, and religious people at meals, telling parables of grace there, and healing the sick
-       sharing to a last supper with his friends when he told them that whenever they shared a meal like this they would remember him
-       and then even after the cross and empty tomb when he appeared to his disciples at Emmaus during a meal. Let’s listen to the story of that meal right now…
[PLAY VIDEO: Emmaus Road (2:20 min)]
It was in the breaking of the bread for those first disciples, and it is in the breaking of the bread still for us, that we discover the risen Lord Jesus, and we see that God keeps God’s promises. Jesus lives and continues among us whenever we come together in his name, especially when we share a meal.
It’s because in the meal the scriptures are fulfilled and we embody (incarnate) everything that Jesus taught and worked for: God’s vision of welcome for all; abundance for all; justice, peace and healing for all. At the meal Isaiah’s vision is realized:
            Jerusalem a joy and its people a delight
            no more weeping or distress
            building houses and inhabiting them,
planting vineyards and eating their fruit
In the meal is SHALOM. In the meal is the living presence of Jesus. On Thursday we felt this. “My heart was full,” said one participant.
Where do we look for the risen Jesus? At a meal.
Shortly now we will share another meal in which we will experience the living presence of Jesus in the bread and wine, his body and blood broken and poured out for us. In that foretaste of the feast to come we will experience forgiveness and healing, grace and new life. And having tasted and seen the living Lord and his body in the faces of the people all around us, having felt our own hearts burning within us and full to the brim with joy… will we be able to help running out to share the good news? Will we not wish to invite others to come, and taste and see? “You feed them,” Jesus once said to his disciples at the beginning of a meal, and will we not embrace that command with joy, to welcome the world to this feast, and to bring it out to share with all? Will we not delight to declare,

Alleluia, Christ is risen! (Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!)