Big thanks to Derek Baker for walking through this text Easter morning. His insight heavily influenced the short reflection below.
In Matthew’s gospel, the resurrected Jesus meets the Marys at the mouth of the empty tomb. After a sweet reunion, Jesus sends the Marys to go find his brothers and tell them to meet him in Galilee. Jesus does not refer to his disciples as his fair-weather friends, or bandwagon fans, not the deserters, or enemies, but his brothers. In his resurrection, Christ wastes no time in mending and restoring ties with loved ones who wronged him. Even in our worst moments, he sees who we are, and not what we’ve done. Thank God he’s still in that business today. His brothers were to meet him in Galilee, the place where his ministry began. The place where he walked through the streets and called the unassuming ensemble that followed him for years. Jesus heads towards the mundanity of Galilee. The familiar town where everything changed. Like starting the story again once you know what happens. Where the disciples could now see that the promise of grace had bloomed into fact, and the resurrected God-Man was to meet them there. So it is with us, the familiar and mundane forever changed – where Jesus meets us in our disbelief and calls us by name. I’ll let TS Eliot bring it home:
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.”