Happy Easter, everyone! While on my recent retreat I learned that peacocks are traditionally connected with resurrection, because each year the males shed their brightly colored feathers and grow new ones in a “resurrection” of sorts. That makes them a particularly appropriate subject for meditation on this Resurrection Sunday.
I enjoyed coming across members of Holy Trinity Monastery’s flock of 6 peacocks and 3 peahens during my time there. Their calls, however, are not nearly as lovely, and occasionally their scream-like sounds would startle me out of a prayerful state…or a doze! I found them roosting just about anywhere during the day, including a long, narrow flower bed that fit a peacock’s tail perfectly!
Pondering peacocks, I find myself thinking about Jesus’ interactions with his followers after his resurrection. In many cases, they did not recognize Jesus when he first appeared to them—think about Mary Magdalene in the garden, and the three men on the road to Emmaus. Even once their eyes were “opened” to see that it was Jesus, there’s no record that he looked in any way special to them—in fact, he looked so much the same that he still had the nail marks on his hands. The peacocks also don’t seem to look any different once they’ve grown their new feathers.
Yet Jesus was radically transformed by his death and resurrection—in ways that the gospels are barely able to put into words. Resurrection is both amazing, and amazingly subtle. The transformation that took place within Jesus was not something his followers could see, or sense. Yet the fact of resurrection had the power to utterly transform his life, and it has the same power to transform our lives and our priorities—if we are willing to allow it.
What kinds of transformation, if any, have you experienced as a result of Jesus’ resurrection? Did it change your outward appearance in any way, or was the transformation a more subtle, inner one?
What in your life needs to experience the power of resurrection, today and in the days ahead?