Resurrection Appearance Stories Yesterday & Today

Recently, a rabbi friend who is dying invited me to visit him.  He is a person I admire deeply who has contributed very much to the world as rabbi, theologian, and activist.

Image of the Resurrection by Indigenous Artist, Ullrich Javier Lemus, which can by found in Matthew Fox’s book, Stations of the Cosmic Christ.

We discussed many things, including battles we engaged in side by side over the years, and more.  I let him lead the conversation and at one point he raised the question of “Resurrection.” 

I responded by reminding him that no doubt he knew better than I how Resurrection is a Jewish idea that was in hot debate in the first century.  And debate plays so big a role in the Jewish tradition (I see it as a kind of spiritual practice that Judaism has cultivated over the years).  Jesus and then his followers came down hard on the side of Resurrection.

I told him of Aquinas’s teachings on the “first” and “second” Resurrection and how to me the heart of the Resurrection story is the appearances that occurred—certainly to Paul who writes more about the Resurrection than anyone.

Christ is said to have appeared to all the disciples and also to “500” others.  Paul interviewed the disciples and no doubt many of these “500.”  (He strikes me as the kind of person who would interview any and every person he could about important stories or rumors.  He probably would have made a good lawyer in our day.) 

“Christ as a Gardener with Mary Magdalene.” Painting by Wenceslas Cobergher, turn of the 16th/17th century. Wikimedia Commons.

I shared with my rabbi friend the story of my friend who is neither Jewish, Christian or a practitioner of any religion.  He is Chinese American and a few months after his mother died, she appeared to him and stood at the end of his bed.  They had a conversation and she said, among other things, “remember the values I have taught you.”

My friend is a self-employed and self-taught blue-collar worker who designs and builds houses.  Tears come to his eyes every time he tells this story. 

Such stories are much more frequent that we realize.  Often when lecturing I share this story then ask people to shut their eyes and raise their hands if they have had similar experiences with a loved one who died.  Usually about 80-85% raise their hands.  I then ask how many have friends they trust who have shared a similar story and about 75% raise their hands.

See “Resurrection” in Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus, Stations of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 128-132.

And Fox, Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality, pp. 359-364.

And Fox, The Tao of Thomas Aquinas, pp. 167-172.

And Fox, The Coming of the Cosmic Christ, pp. 144-151.

Banner Image: “Landscape with Christ and his Disciples on the Road to Emmaus” Painting by Jan Wildens, 1640s, on Wikimedia Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

Do you have a story that parallels the one I share in this meditation about Resurrection appearances?  Do you see a parallel with Paul’s resurrection experience and other stories in his writings or in the gospels?

Recommended Reading

Stations of the Cosmic Christ
By Matthew Fox and Bishop Marc Andrus.

This is a book of meditations on the Cosmic Christ, accompanying the images of 16 wonderful clay tablets by Javier Ullrrich Lemus and M.C. Richards. Together, these images and meditations go far beyond the traditional Stations of the Cross to inspire a spirit awakening and understanding of the cosmic Christ Consciousness, Buddha consciousness, and consciousness of the image of God in all beings, so needed in our times.
“A divinely inspired book that must be read by every human being devoted to spiritual and global survival. It is cosmically brilliant.” — Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

Sheer Joy: Conversations with Thomas Aquinas on Creation Spirituality

Matthew Fox renders Thomas Aquinas accessible by interviewing him and thus descholasticizing him.  He also translated many of his works such as Biblical commentaries never before in English (or Italian or German of French).  He  gives Aquinas a forum so that he can be heard in our own time. He presents Thomas Aquinas entirely in his own words, but in a form designed to allow late 20th-century minds and hearts to hear him in a fresh way. 
“The teaching of Aquinas comes through will a fullness and an insight that has never been present in English before and [with] a vital message for the world today.” ~ Fr. Bede Griffiths (Afterword).
Foreword by Rupert Sheldrake

The Tao of Thomas Aquinas: Fierce Wisdom for Hard Times

A stunning spiritual handbook drawn from the substantive teachings of Aquinas’ mystical/prophetic genius, offering a sublime roadmap for spirituality and action.
Foreword by Ilia Delio.
“What a wonderful book!  Only Matt Fox could bring to life the wisdom and brilliance of Aquinas with so much creativity. The Tao of Thomas Aquinas is a masterpiece.”
–Caroline Myss, author of Anatomy of the Spirit

The Coming of the Cosmic Christ: The Healing of Mother Earth and the Birth of a Global Renaissance

In what may be considered the most comprehensive outline of the Christian paradigm shift of our Age, Matthew Fox eloquently foreshadows the manner in which the spirit of Christ resurrects in terms of the return to an earth-based mysticism, the expression of creativity, mystical sexuality, the respect due the young, the rebirth of effective forms of worship—all of these mirroring the ongoing blessings of Mother Earth and the recovery of Eros, the feminine aspect of the Divine.
“The eighth wonder of the world…convincing proof that our Western religious tradition does indeed have the depth of imagination to reinvent its faith.” — Brian Swimme, author of The Universe Story and Journey of the Universe.

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7 thoughts on “Resurrection Appearance Stories Yesterday & Today”

  1. Avatar

    I don’t physically see ‘the dead’ resurrected, if we are to call them that. I do however, many times over, ‘see’ their presence and ‘hear’ their presence. Call it what you will, which I call the presence of Spirit of whomever it shall be, to be those who have passed but never really passed. They can be our benefactors and intercessors in ‘this Life’ if we allow them to be. Other than ourselves holding on to a physical, visible body for a time, we are ‘one’ and the same as the ‘present and unseen’. I call upon the Saints, the Sages and Guru’s for guidance and wisdom. I am not a medium nor want to be, looking to communicate with relatives and others’ friends. — BB.

  2. Avatar

    My husband died in 1992 in a plane crash in the NC mountains. A few weeks later, as I was lying in bed reading before going to sleep, he appeared in the door of my bedroom. Behind him as a human shape of bright light. I asked him if I could hug him and he said, “No, you can feel me.” I told him I was devastated and worried about how I could carry on (our daughters were 13 and 16 at this time). He told me everything would be okay. Then he disappeared. This experience has stayed with me all these years. I was reassured that he was still around, just in another form.

  3. Avatar
    Rosemary Fitzpatrick

    Resurrection: several weeks after my husband died I woke in the morning and saw him near me, and he spoke and said: Oh, Rose, I do love you so.

  4. Avatar

    My brother came to me after the 4 th day of his passing, to hug me and kiss me goodbye. It was very vivid and clear. And I awoke immediately after it to feelings of relief and strength that he had successfully crossed over and he was where he was suppose to be????thanks for your wonderful meditations Matthew. Namaste

  5. Avatar

    I don’t personally have any experiences of resurrection, but gracefully and thankfully I have Faith and more interest in the afterlife and spiritual dimensions of All Life the last few years. My contemplative spiritual journey seems to be deepening to the greater awareness and realization that there is really no separation/duality in LIFE’S Spiritual Dimensions, especially in the Sacred Process of the Eternal Present Moment, Our LOVING Evolving Diverse ONENESS…

  6. Avatar

    I was sitting with the daughter of a friend, whose mother was dying. I was facing her and she was facing the door to the hallway from the apartment. The door to her mother’s bedroom was behind me. Suddenly she turned white and jumped up, and we rushed into the bedroom, where her mother lay at peace at last. My friend had seen her coming out of the bedroom and going out of the door to the hallway. I did not see or feel her passing. But my friend did, and what amazed her was that she saw her mom as younger and healthy. My stepson, who was not at all religious, told of how, when his partner died of AIDS, he saw his soul rising and marveled at how small it was. My cousin and her husband are mediums in the spiritual community of Cassadaga FL. I do believe that some have genuine gifts, but that pathway is not for me. Truly, there are more things in heaven and on earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy.

  7. Avatar

    Not resurrection appearances, but the mother of an elderly friend of mine had what her Old-World immigrant neighbors called “the Third Eye.” She was very psychic and occasionally, vividly was aware of when relatives and friends of her family were passing over. She was also occasionally telepathic with her children (which they didn’t always appreciate…). She had a dream about the atomic bomb “mushroom cloud” the night before the news of it was announced to the world.

    Telepathy is more common than we usually hear about, especially among twins. And it’s a reminder that we truly are far more interconnected than our intellect/egos would have us believe. The limiting walls of perception that we think separate us from each aren’t as solid as they appear.

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