2012-04-08

Easter Stories

Happy Easter. Hallelujah!

He is risen, she is risen, they are risen, and we are risen. OK, everybody up? Excellent. Now what? For the resurrection is yours. What are you going to do with it?

For our Easter reading, let’s look at this fascinating and helpful story – or rather stories.

An insightful and compassionate teacher was put to death. He died on a Friday, too late in the day to bury him. The next day, Saturday, was the Jewish Sabbath. Jesus and all his followers were good, observing Jews, so the body could not be properly prepared and buried on the Sabbath. They had to wait until Sunday for the burial. The body was placed in a temporary tomb – a small cave cut into the side of the hill. The doors were heavy stone circles that ran on a track.

Showing the circular stone on a track.
On Sunday morning Mary Magdelene went by herself (John). Or two women, Mary Magdelene and “the other Mary,” went to the tomb (Matthew). Or three women, Mary Magdelene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went (Mark). Or an indeterminate number of women – at least four -- went to the tomb (Luke).

She, or they, took spices to prepare the body for burial. Mary went in the pre-dawn darkness (John). Or the women went when the day was dawning (Matthew and Luke). Or when the sun had risen (Mark).

When Mary, or the women, got there, they found the stone already rolled back (Mark, Luke, John). Or they arrived just in time to see an angel roll it back (Matthew).

Three women entered the tomb and saw “a young man dressed in a white robe” (Mark). Or a group of four or more women saw “two men in dazzling robes” (Luke). Or two women saw an angel and some guards (Matthew). Or Mary Magdalene, alone, saw no one at all until after she returned from the tomb, told two of the disciples that the body was missing, all three of them returned again to the tomb, still saw nothing but linen wrappings, and the disciples left Mary alone crying. Then she looked into the tomb and saw "two angels in white" (John).

However we tell it, the tomb was empty.

What had been taken for dead, wasn’t.

And a whole new world of possibility was suddenly open.

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Part 1 of "What's the Meadow For?"
Next: Part 2: "Mark and Matthew Easter Stories"