Sunday, April 11, 2004

He Lives, He Reigns

Listen to my story:

I slept against the hard stone of the tomb of my Lord, Jesus Christ, who had been crucified and buried. A couple of guards came by and poked at me, but I refused to move. I was too exhausted and too grieved to care. If they took my life, so much the better. I no longer needed it.

I went back to sleep.

"Disciple, wake up. Arise," came a voice.

I floated upward to consciousness from a very deep sleep.

"Awake. Your Lord needs you."

A creature stood before me, luminous in the dark. It was beautiful, the creature, but very strange. Almost like a man, but not. I had trouble seeing it properly. Its glow made it hard for me to focus my eyes on it.

The world was moving in odd ways.

"Don't go fainting on me. You have work to do."

The creature touched the stone in front of the tomb. It rumbled away from the entrance to the cave.

Listen. I saw the risen Lord.

He walked toward me. He was beautiful, so beautiful. He glowed with a luminosity much greater than that of the creature beside me.

It was Him.

I could see the empty funeral linens behind Him.

He was dressed in white. He moved with a fluid grace. I don't know how this could be, but it was.

It was the risen Lord, shining in glory. Listen to the Good News.

I remembered what He had said about the third day, that I didn't understand.

With one scarred hand, He touched my forehead. Peace came over me.

"Tell the others when they come. Disciple, you will make disciples. You will baptize in my name. Tell them of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."

I could only say, yes. I knelt. He put His hand on the top of my head for a moment, then walked past me in radiance.

My clothes were now a beautiful white. There was no wound on my chest. My feet were clean and my skin was as fine as a child's.

He has done many miraculous things. But the most miraculous is that He lives. He will never die again.

"Wait here for the others," said the creature, which could only have been an angel.

I sat on top of the stone, waiting and examiring my new clothes and my new skin, when the Roman guards came back. I enjoyed their confusion over the open tomb.

"Are you looking for Jesus of Nazareth?" I asked in my best and most holy of voices. I chortled at the guards' confusion and alarm.

They looked into the cave and then looked at me in my new appearance with their mouths open, not recognizing the disciple they had tried to roust a little earlier.

"He is not here. He is gone. An angel came and moved the stone with one finger. Now He is risen and He is gone. He is the Lord God. " I was laughing, holding my sides. I realized: this is joy, come back into the world.

"He came to live among us. He died, but He rose again. He will never forsake us." I lifted my arms. "Share my joy!"

Share the Good News! Christ is resurrected. He will lead us in glory, for He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Follow Him. He reigns in mercy and love.

The guards backed away and ran up the path from the tomb.

I sat rocking myself, singing, praying and praising and laughing through the night. I was overcome with joy. I waited until I saw Mary Magdalene on the path, then I jumped down from the stone, landing lightly on my feet, ready to tell her the Good News.

Listen, all of you, to my testimony and we shall make disciples of many, for Jesus Christ is alive and He brings life in abundance, life everlasting, and the peace that is beyond all understanding.

His goodness and mercy will be with us forever.

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