I travelled to Romania for two weeks recently. Out of all my many remarkable experiences, the most amazing was walking into the home of a stranger and seeing at the kitchen table a young woman eating a bowl of soup. Just sitting there, calmly, spoon in hand, slurping soup! Though my heart was pounding at the sight, I held it together in that moment—saving tears of gratitude for later.
Today is Easter Sunday, so I’m writing in celebration of the resurrection of our Lord. No, a software glitch didn’t mess up the timing of this blog post. In the Eastern liturgical calendar, Easter often falls a week later than in the West. Some years I’ve attended Easter services in both USA and Romania on consecutive weeks. Of course in the Christian tradition, every Sunday commemorates the resurrection—celebrated from the early times as “the Lord’s Day.”
So today is simply an ordinary Easter, especially here in the West where it now falls in that long stretch of the liturgical calendar known as Ordinary Time. I’m reminded of Jesus’s post-resurrection appearances that were evidently quite ordinary in nature, according to Gospel accounts. Often he wasn’t even recognized as anyone notable, even by friends. Outside the tomb, Mary Magdalene took him to be the landscape guy. Emmaus travelers mistook him for a fellow pedestrian. Though he performed many spectacular wonders before his death, afterward he typically shared himself with simple touch, a meal, or tender conversation.
I’m not denying or dismissing the spectacular. As a recreational fisherman, I’d be thrilled with the help Jesus gave the disciples in the boat after the resurrection. And I’d welcome the miracles of the apostles in Acts. But I do have a growing awareness of the addiction we might have to the “amazing.” Some observers have even suggested we ban this word. We watch SportsCenter for the Blake Griffin poster jam, not the Steve Nash pick-and-roll play. (Non-sports fans, please resume reading.)