In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
And behold, there was a great earthquake: For the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men,
And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me.
--Book of Matthew, Chapter 28
What am I supposed to tell my editor? He sent me out on this Story, and all I'm getting is science fiction. Or maybe it's poetry. Or maybe something else. For some reason, I can't quit capitalizing Story. Even though it goes against Aramaic Press style.
I've tried to put it all together, but there's no way he's going to believe it. I interviewed the women first, like a good scholar, because they were the first to discover Him missing, or at least His body. They were in mourning--at first. More than that, they said, they were in defeat. While the men were in retreat. They were being mocked. They were being pursued. All the pretty stories were only stories. All the parables only parables. All the wisdom washed away. Death had won. As it always does.
Almost always, the women insisted.
They had come for the body, and in place of faith, last rites would have to do. But instead, somebody in the garden said, "Mary," and at the sound of her name, she recognized the Speaker. Tears of pain turned to tears of joy.
Then the men had to be convinced. (The hard part.) Some doubted. At first. But they reported that they saw Him, too. They went on the record. Gave me their names and all.
And suddenly this small band of ignorant, unread people, only hours before hounded into the shadows by their doubts and fears, began running through the streets shouting about this Good News, which my editor wants a report about soonest. What am I to tell him?
That something unfathomable doesn't have to be non-existent? That faith triumphs over fear? That a man put to death--a man that died--could conquer death? How does that begin to work? An editor would never buy it. Especially mine.
And why would Death decide to be conquered here, of all desolate places? It's a dry land during a dry season. And there's nothing special about these people. They've been conquered by so many real civilizations that they've become used to servitude. And now one of these people, the least among us, has conquered the unconquerable? This wouldn't even make a good opinion piece. Commentators have to have a real theory, something believable.
These people don't even put their newborn infants into the weather to weed out the weak, and thus improve the race. Their gods don't fight mankind, and each other. Their biggest claim to fame was a retreat from the Egyptians ages ago. If you want wisdom, if you want modern thought, if you want stories, you go to Rome. Now that place has got the prophets, false or otherwise. The last time I was there, I saw mediums, palmists, crystal gazers, fortune tellers, clairvoyants of every religion. Except this one. These people don't even worship golden statues. And what a poor religion it must be to have only one God.
Why these people? Why here? Why now? There must be an angle.
But, strangest of all, a part of me is beginning to believe them. Seriously. You should have seen the look in their eyes. I can perhaps account for the missing body--word has it that the guards have been bribed already to accuse His followers--but I cannot account for the look in their eyes. Or the excitement in their voices. And how make that change in a few hours? From persecuted scoundrels hiding in alleyways to standing on the streets in broad daylight, looking soldiers in the eye, proclaiming He Has Risen?
A few hours ago, these people were afraid of death. And now they're not even afraid of the worst kind that could be given them by Caesar himself. How explain that? How convince my editor that it would make a good Story?
Maybe I should follow these folks a little longer, to hear more of what they have to say. Somehow, I have this powerful feeling that I should do just that. It's almost a spiritual feeling, something sacred. Anyway, it's an intoxicating draw. As if something more powerful than Caesar or the Romans or even my editor is calling for me. And I should go. Besides, these folks have some of the best quotes.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Editorial on 04/21/2019
Print Headline: Easter 2019