Easter is not just one morning, or even a full week; the “Octave” of Easter just completed yesterday. It is a whole season; weeks upon weeks. That’s how it was for the first disciples of Jesus. The wonder of the Resurrection was too much for them to take in all at once. Engaging its reality and significance took time, and Jesus gave them the time they needed. He not only appeared to them repeatedly after the Resurrection, He continued to teach them. Gradually they began to see new meanings in the Scriptures that they hadn’t realized before—the Messiah would not be a military hero who triumphed over Israel’s oppressors in a single stroke. Rather, the Messiah would suffer and die on the Cross. But that would not be the end of the story.
This is how deep learning takes place. Usually it’s not a single “Eureka” moment, but a gradual process that takes time.
Every morning through the window of my home office I can see a dogwood tree. A week ago little green buds had formed at the ends of its branches. Then the buds began to open, and day by day green flower petals grew in size. Now the flowers are completely open, with an echo of a green tinge, on their way to becoming pure white.
After the Resurrection Jesus gave His disciples a whole season for learning, as in His continuing presence they grew together from being a cluster of frightened and confused followers to being a community unified in new understanding and commitment, ready to become apostles. The Church today gives us the time we need for entering into more and more comprehension of what the Resurrection means now, for each of us and for the world around us. The significance of Resurrection is too much for us all at once. The full season of Easter gives us time to learn and grow.
The Rev. Charles Hoffacker is a retired priest of the Diocese of Washington