Recommended listening: Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens
Just at dawn a brilliant white, searing light flashed through the tomb which trembled with the awesome power of the Almighty and the stone covering the entrance to the tomb rolled away of itself, bowing before the its Creator.
First Jesus’ eyes fluttered open and he felt the cloth covering his face. He lay motionless for a moment before he reached up with his hands and unwound the head cloth. As he neatly folded the cloth, a sense of awe awakened in him and he shook his head with the dawn of consciousness that he was indeed alive again. There was no pain despite the terrible physical ordeal of scourging and crucifixion that he had undergone. Life coursed through his body and he sat up, swinging his feet down to the floor. My God is the God of the Living! Light and life streamed into the tomb of death defeated. He stood erect and stretched his body, still slightly shaky, having been dead for a time. His wounded and healed foot stepped forth onto the cool, stone threshold of the tomb where the stone had rolled away. He heard angels singing, “In the beginning was the Word…” He stepped fully out of the tomb and into the beautiful day of God’s re-creation. It was the world as he had left it, but renewed and it seemed to him that the very colors themselves were singing.
“I wonder if Judas is okay. I hope they weren’t too hard on him because they all left me except my Mother, Mary and John.” But his thoughts turned to the beauty of the morning and the goodness of life and Jesus squinted against the brightness of the morning sun. A shining mist of rain falling from a cloudless sky delighted him as he stood in a rainbow of God’s promise. A shiver, a shudder ran down his back and goose bumps stretched the skin of his arms.
Among the jumble of thoughts that raced through his head was that of his beloved brother Lazarus and his impatience living a second life. He also thought of Adam and his awareness that everything was new and everything was a gift for him. Jesus examined the gift of his hands and gently touched the wounds to test them, but there was no pain. He sensed at once the healing, restorative power of his afflictions.
Jesus looked at the wounds on his feet and they appeared as the wounds on his hands: healed and clearly visible, but evincing no pain whatever. He felt with his hand the wound from the spear, which was nearly the last thing he recalled. Then he remembered the horrible scourging that had nearly killed him. He reached over his shoulder and he could feel the scars of stripes and then he turned his head to look at his back, and he laughed at himself. “I can’t see my own back!” He thought of a dog chasing his own tail and he laughed again.
And Jesus said, “I am raised up from the dead!!” He dropped to his knees and from this posture of submission to his Father’s will, he returned thanks for life anew. Returning to his feet he gave a little hop, a tentative test of his renewed body and his spirit soared.
Smokey had been crouching out of sight, quietly observing all that was taking place, sniffing the air until he was certain that this was Jesus alive in the flesh, just like before, with wounds, but just like before. Smokey bounded up high into the arms of his Master and gleefully licked Jesus’ face. And Jesus gritted his teeth and said to Smokey in that funny voice reserved for animals, “You’re a good, good, good dog. You didn’t leave me, did you?!” The Teacher gave the dog a tight bear hug, shaking him back and forth.
Jumping to the ground Smokey was unable to contain his joy, which burst forth from his heart with bounding and jumping about his Master and whimpering with joy. Smokey’s eyes went all moist for he had mourned for his dead Master, but now his Master was back and he was more alive than before, if that was possible, and Smokey felt the life running through himself to be quicker than before.
Jesus bent over to pet his dog who was dancing about his feet and when he stood erect, he began to reflect. He cried out in a loud voice, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me!”
Jesus stretched his hands over his head to the heavens as if to reach the throne of the Almighty itself. With hands open to receive the goodness of God, he prayed,
We are Life for the Dead.
We are Truth for the Seeker.
We are the Living Water to the Thirsty.
We are Cana’s Wine for the Joyless.
We are the Living Vine for all the Branches.
We are Bread for the Hungry.