Friday, March 26, 2010

The Other Easter

People die every day. Death never takes a holiday. I am reminded of that fact every morning when I read the newspaper. One of the first parts of the paper I read is the obituary page. This is not because I am particularly morbid, but because it happens to be located in the first half of the first section of our small daily paper. Death may not be big news in the cities, but not much happens in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. So the deaths of our neighbors get top billing.

The other hot spot of our newspaper is what they call "Mugshot Monday." It is right before the obituaries. Every Monday the paper prints unflattering photos of our other neighbors who entered the county jail that week. Yes, it is exciting living in Beaver County. Sometimes the ones in the obituaries were put there by the ones on the mugshot page! And vice-versa, with the emphasis on the vice.

Back to the obits.... Imagine if a person you saw listed in the obituaries on Wednesday showed up at your door the following Sunday? It sounds like one of those zombie or vampire films that are so popular among teens these days. But this is no Hollywood horror flick. This is what happened on the first Easter Sunday in Jerusalem.

Jesus was not the only one who rose from the grave on Easter Sunday. Matthew's account of the crucifixion says that the death of Jesus triggered some interesting events.  

"Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many."

We don't hear any more about these other resurrections, but they must have caused quite a stir! Who were these people? It calls them "saints," which in biblical language does not mean super-religious people but simply believers in Jesus.

I wonder what the rest of the story is. What tales did these folks tell of their death experience? Did they meet Jesus? If so, what did they talk about? What did the Romans or Sanhedrin think? I wish the gospel writers had interviewed these resurrectees. Where are the good investigative reporters when you need them?

The point of these other Easter stories is that the death and resurrection of Jesus had power! It was so powerful that it spilled over to others. That is what I am counting on. I am promised that it will spill over to me, and to all those who die in Christ. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive."  Alleluia! 

Artwork is Resurrection, oil on canvas, 21" x 19" 1993 by Christina Saj

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