Easter: Christ Risen

Easter. Rebirth. Resurrection. Spring. It is also the time when we celebrate the Resurrection. Or, if you’re like me, puzzle over it, filled with questions and doubt: did Jesus resurrect bodily, or was it a mystical return from the dead? Had he fully died? Maybe he went into a trance or coma in those last hours on the Cross, and once buried came out of it – although how he got out of the closed tomb with its great stone rolled across the mouth of the cave, to be seen by Mary in the garden— that gives one pause.

    I know people who are waiting for the Second Coming, convinced that He will return in bodily form, mature, having somehow skipped a childhood.  I’m not sure what happens then, but I imagine, as the Grand Inquisitor says in Dostoyevski’s “Brother’s Karamatsov, that we humans turn on Him and kill that exotic Other all over again.  Meanwhile, I understand nothing.  

     Yet twice I have seen Christ, and nothing can convince me the visions were not real.  Perhaps the Second Coming is happening to all of us all the time, and what is missing is recognition alone. Perhaps Christ is coming to us again and again, in tiny moments, reminders

of kindness, in bursts of laughter, or enjoyment of wine and social company. He must have been fun when alive. I’m inviting you all, dear readers, to confide your own experiences. I need to know them. I want to know I’m not alone.

    Some spiritual encounters are so fragile that you hardly know what’s happened. I remember one Easter slipping into Christ Church, Georgetown, onto a folding chair at the door, and suddenly bursting into tears, overcome by . . . what? Beauty? Flowers? Spiritual ecstasy? This, too, brought me no closer to church devotion. (I’m a hard case., it seems.) 

    Both of my Jesus sightings were similarly memorable. That is to say, I can’t forget them.  Yet, curiously, both were so ordinary that nothing changed. I didn’t fall to my knees in worship of the Son of God. I didn’t become more devout, or  churchly or “Christian.”

    Here is one.  I was living in my cabin in Taos, N. M.  For weeks I had been praying to see Jesus. You see, I’m not a very good Christian (always doubting, arguing, ready with contemptuous and critical inner commentary).

    So there I was that Easter morning, reading in my green tattered armchair by the fire, when I glanced up from my book , and out the window — I saw Christ walking toward me across the lawn. He was dressed in a long, white robe, like in the pictures, and he looked sort of as he’s depicted :  a face, a beard, though I don’t remember his face, merely his arms  opening  in welcome and the smile of greeting as he strode toward me. The next moment he was gone. The whole vision couldn’t have lasted more than an instant, less than a second, and it left no effect on me whatsoever., “Oh, that was Christ,” I thought, and went back to my book. As if I’d seen my brother.

      The problem was, the memory kept coming back, as now, writing about it.  Was it real? I have no idea.  But jut thinking of it fills me with joy. Did it change my life?  Make me go to church more regularly, stop arguing, found hospitals, build orphanages, give all my worldly goods away and join a monastery? No.  

   But I can’t forget that sense of being loved. Or His joy, the absolute delight, at seeing me.

   The other experience was totally different, and you can make of it what you will.  I was walking up the hill on the street in Washington D. C., where I lived, when I noticed a man walking slowly on the far side of the street.  He was young, perhaps in his twenties, dressed in dark, somewhat dirty and ragged clothing ,and carrying a backpack. He was pulling up the hill, slightly hunched, deep in thought, staring at the sidewalk at his feet, but what made him unusual was . . . some ineffable quality that drew me to him. He was utterly absorbed in thought (prayer?) eyes down, impervious to his surroundings.  I hurried across the street behind him, hastening to catch up. Who was he? Why did I want to stand beside him? He looked destitute, orphaned, and content in lonesomeness.  To  speak to him. would be an intrusion. He didn’t need me. He didn’t need anyone. But my heart poured out toward him.  I wanted to help.  All of these thoughts occurred so quickly I was hardly aware of them. Walking past, I reached out to offer money. He pulled back, shook his head. “No, no.” Did he say the words aloud? I don’t remember, but certainly the message received informed me that he didn’t need money.  I walked quickly on, forging uphill, curiously disturbed by him but careful not to interrupt his meditations.  After a few moments I turned to look behind. He wasn’t there.  Maybe he was someone’s son, who had just reached the front door to his own house.

   Why do I think he was the Christ?

   I would love to hear other experiences. Here was a man, or prophet, or Son of God, who has been worshipped for 2000 years; who never wrote a word and yet influenced more people than anyone on earth.  Have you too had experiences? Did they change you? Do you dare to share them with us on my blog?

7 thoughts on “Easter: Christ Risen

  1. I don’t think I have ever seen Christ. I have felt Christ, and that experience caused me to see the earth and my life in a way I never had before. I was about 30, living on a country road in the hills of Santa Rosa. I had very little money and had gone from being absolutely sure of what I was doing with my life to drifting, having no idea what was next. One day, driving in the rain on a newly paved, newly banked road, I skidded and crashed my car. I was taken to emergency, and they found I had broken fragments of glass in my left eye. A young doctor used a slender, strong stream of water to hose the glass out of my eye. My whole body was badly banged up, especially my right side – my ribs were badly bruised. I hurt everywhere. I had to wear an eye patch and just lay low for a long time, recovering. One morning after removing the eye patch, leaning over the sink, my eye began to tear, and tiny fragments of glass were in the teardrops. Somehow my eyes had protected me – and my sight — from the glass still there, all that time. The strange irritation I had felt in my eye was gone. I could see, I was all right. That was a miracle. The next thing I remember is walking outside, looking at the hills and the trees and the sky. My right side was extremely painful, and in experiencing that pain, unbidden, I thought of Christ, felt overcome by Christ. There is no other way to explain it; I felt Christ within me, all around me. At the same time, I felt a profound sense of oneness with the earth. I felt the earth calling to me, and I knew I was being called to write about the experience of healing, to speak and to write about the ways in which the earth heals us, and the ways we are meant to care for and heal our mother earth.

    That next year I began my graduate work in humanistic psychology. I spent two years researching and writing the thesis that would become my first book, The Healing Environment.

  2. I am also moved by of these accounts of visiting Lord Jesus Christ. It is really miraculous. Thanks to Sophy and Christina for sharing these wonderful and amazing events in their lives.

  3. Sophy, thank you very much for sharing these stories. I read them last week and have been thinking about them since then, and looking around at the world with new eyes so I don’t miss any sightings. If I had a story to share I certainly would do so – it’s such a wonderful space here. Meantime I am very grateful for these stories (I am also a hard case, prone to question and argue, and not one for church devotion)

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