Give Yourself a Break
Start by naming and acknowledging the trauma: you’ve suffered, been crucified, died, been buried, and descended to hell. Now you’re about to rise from the dead, and you’re feeling ambivalent at best. Are you expected to just emerge from the tomb and greet your disciples like nothing happened? It’s normal to feel annoyed at the angel who’s coming to unseal your tomb, but bear in mind that he’s just doing his job.
Remember That Others Are Struggling Too
It’s tempting to nurse grudges against friends who didn’t support you, whether they betrayed you to the chief priests for thirty pieces of silver, or merely denied you three times before the cock crowed. Forgive them, for they know not what they do. Give your friends an opportunity to show up for you in a small way: appear to two of them on the road to Emmaus. Walk and talk with them for a few hours. They should recognize you, and that’s a great start!
Don’t Dwell on Regrets
If you knew that supper was the Last Supper, you would have handled it differently. Did you make things weird by revealing that the bread and wine was your own body and blood? Being dead, you’ve had a lot of time to think things over. And then there was the moment you took too many bitter herbs, felt bad about it, and just blurted out, “One of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” Keep things in perspective: a hundred years from now, no one will care about these little overshares.
Start with Small Gatherings
At this stage, with shouts of “crucify him” still ringing in your ears, it’s natural to fear crowds, noise, and touch. Start small: appear to three women in a garden. If they freak out, don’t worry. Break the ice by asking them why they’re crying. (Bonus: this will make them seem like the weird ones, not you.) Also, you don’t have to plan every little thing. These are your disciples; you can just roll with it.
Don’t Fret About Remembering Names
When in doubt, call her Mary.
Wear Whatever Makes You Comfortable
Will people notice you’ve been wearing the same linen shroud for so long that sweat, grime, and blood have precisely imprinted your figure and features onto it? Of course not: they’ve got their own clothes to worry about!
Set Your Own Boundaries for Physical Contact
After this whole ordeal, will you ever feel comfortable accepting a kiss from a friend in a garden again? If you’re not ready yet, use your words. Remind yourself that your friends have boundaries, too — it’s not like one of them would just show up and demand to stick his fingers in your wounds!
Don’t Feel Pressure to Drink
You may feel less fun than you used to be, but your friends who loved you as the guy who turned water into wine at a wedding will still love you as the guy who turned down wine mixed with myrrh at the cross because it would dull your pain.
It’s Natural to Struggle With Small Talk
On the cross, it was hard not to overanalyze every remark: was Pontius Pilate just being sarcastic when he crowned me “King of the Jews”? Try and leave the self-flagellation behind with the rest of the flagellation. Here’s a fun idea for a post-resurrection ice breaker: ask Peter, “Do you love me?” and when he says yes, tell him, “Feed my sheep.” Just don’t repeat yourself three times. That would be weird.
Allow Yourself to Accept Help
Your Father’s house has many rooms, and there’s nothing wrong with crashing in one of them for a while. Take your time, whether that means a century or a few thousand years. He’ll kick you out eventually, but that’s understandable. If your friends on earth ask when you’ll be back, tell them, “That day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
Adjust Your Expectations for the Summer
It won’t be long before the Romans stop fearing a rebellion and let your followers meet in large groups again. When it comes to the first gathering, your imagination might be running wild: What if a sound like the blowing of a violent wind comes from heaven and fills the whole house where we’re sitting, and tongues of fire come to rest on each of us? What if we speak in tongues, our sons and daughters prophesy, young men see visions, and old men dream dreams? Recognize that these fears are irrational, but give yourself permission to stay home and attend in spirit.