Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Easter (05/30/05)
TITLE: The Easter No One Prepared to Celebrate
By Delores Baber
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What there was was a group of heart-broken people who had suffered not only the lost of one they dearly loved, but the fracturing of the hope they had placed in him. They had come together, stunned, trying to make sense of what had taken place. Disbelief. Shock! So many “Whys?” but no answers could be found. It made no sense. They had huddled together sharing their grief since that terrible Friday. A day that changed everything.
“How could this have happened? We were all so sure he was the chosen one.”
“John, you heard him yourself. He admitted defeat on the cross. Everyone there heard him say it was over.”
“Finished! He said it is finished.” replied the grieving Mary. Her heart felt as though it had been mortally wounded. She remembered the words of Simeon. What had he told her? She thought back, “. . . a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also.” Yes, that described her pain. That was just how it had felt. When the soldier had pierced his precious side, her heart broke also. She crumbled at the foot of the cross. What agony! When she looked down at her hands they were stained with blood, his blood that had trickled down the coarse wood.”
Thomas, seeing Mary’s grief didn’t want to say anything to cause her more pain, but in his heart he was thinking, “finished, over, what’s the difference? He’s dead and the kingdom he spoke about died with him. Something had gone terribly wrong.”
The burial had been done hastily because at sunset the Sabbath would begin and they could not work, even to bury their Lord. Lord? That’s what we called him. But now he’s dead. He had raised others from the dead, but now that he’s dead who is around with the power to raise him? The answer was obvious. There was no one. There would be no more miracles. How many times had they heard him speak of the kingdom. He said it was near, at hand. But how can you have the kingdom if the king was dead?
Peter thought back to the argument that occurred when the mother of James and John had asked that her sons be the ones to sit on both sides of him in his kingdom? He remembered how angry the others had gotten about it? Sitting next to what; an empty throne? We thought . . .” , his voice trailed away as he sighed.
Today was the first day of the week. It was early. The morning sun had come over the hill as though nothing had changed. Mary Magdalene rose, “Mary, the Sabbath is over. We need to go and anoint his body now. Have you gathered all the spices we will need?”
“Yes. It’s the last thing we can do for him now. I don’t know how we’ll get in. You are aware of the huge stone they sealed the sepulcher with?”
John replied, “That’s not the only obstacle. Pilate has guards to prevent anyone from entering.”
“But John, it has to be done. Surely they’ll show kindness to us out of respect for the dead. We’re going. Perhaps God will open a way for us.” With bowls in hand and spices wrapped in white linen the women went forth leaving the others, weeping.
Time passed with heavy sighs breaking the silence. Nathaniel was by the window and looked out. ‘Hey, the women are coming back. They’re running. They couldn’t have finished already. What else could go wrong?”
They were about to understand the meaning of "Weeping may indure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning."
It was to be the first of many Easter celebrations. And over all the celebrations we hear the words, “He lives!”
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