The Hungry Christ
While in their joy they were disbelieving and still wondering, Jesus said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” – Luke 24:41 (NRSV)
If we take the story literally, it has been four days since Jesus has eaten.
Not since Thursday, when he washed his disciples’ feet and shared with them a sad supper, has he taken nourishment. On Friday, his executioners would not give the Thirsty One as much as a drink of water. On Saturday, the dead body of the Crucified Christ went unseen, untouched, unfed.
Now it is Sunday night after a busy day, and the Risen Christ is hungry. Sounding less like a walking miracle and more like a ravenous teenage boy, Jesus appears out of nowhere and asks his dumbstruck disciples for something to eat.
And maybe that’s the point, that just as the Word became flesh and lived as one of us, the Risen Christ lives among us still, much as you or me: wounded by the ways of the world, bearing the scars of injustice and fear, and with an appetite that wants satisfying.
Rather than a disembodied, spiritualized version of “love wins,” maybe the Risen Christ is just as inconvenient, and even more down to earth, than that troublemaker Jesus of Nazareth.
He is the single mother waiting in line at the soup kitchen, the innocent man wasting away behind bars, the bullied trans kid desperate for acceptance. The Risen Christ is the refugee family swimming against the tide, the exhausted parent trying to do it all, the addict struggling to get clean, the unhoused person begging for spare change.
The Risen Christ is your least favorite, most annoying, always-hungry acquaintance. Do you have anything to eat?
When I fail to recognize you, O Christ, share with me your need.
Vicki Kemper is the Pastor of First Congregational, UCC, of Amherst, Massachusetts.