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Lockdown Easter

Posted by Lucy Moore on 16 Apr 2020

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Musings from a locked room that I shared in a blithery sort of way with the Aussies, New Zealanders, Danes, Germans and Brits this morning.

Easter for Jesus’ first disciples is, strangely, a time of insides, of locked doors, locked for fear of… something outside that will do the disciples harm. Perhaps the outside exposure of Gethsemane and Calvary over the last few days was just too much for them, and they felt the need to retreat into a safe, womb-like interior. On the evening of Easter Sunday, the disciples were locked in a room for fear of the Jewish authorities. The habit persists for at least a week, when we see them locked in again with Thomas this time. The exciting thing is that Jesus doesn’t stay outside the building either time he visits. Instead, he comes in (how? Does he wander in? Bounce in? Burst in? Materialise in mid-air?) as if he can’t wait for his best friends to join him outside. He meets his friends where they are and doesn't require them to step out before they're ready. He doesn't need them to meet him at a particular holy spot: he is with them where they are. He doesn’t mind that the disciples are frightened rather than jubilant in his resurrection – he gives them time to adjust to the new reality that’s breaking out. Perhaps Jesus is giving himself time to adjust too.

But is it too fanciful to wonder if the claustrophobia of the tomb has given Jesus a distaste for confined spaces? He doesn’t seem to stay long either time inside the room in Jerusalem. He seems reluctant to go into the house in Emmaus at all, and when he does, stays only long enough to break bread. There’s no record that he went inside the temple in his resurrected body at all, which is rather surprising (imagine the tables he could have turned over without the limitations of his previous body!). The resurrected Jesus certainly breaks into buildings but is more likely to be met outside on the road, on the beach, on the hilltop.

The disciples, however, went back into the temple as soon as they could. It’s too soon to say what a wise course of action will be, but I wonder what we’ll do after lockdown.