Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Remembering A Morning Long Ago

Life was pleasant enough for the old man on the island, a mix of the joy of teaching, for he was revered for this knowledge and the way he spoke of love, and the constant pain that came every time he had to move his deeply scarred skin.

He had lived far longer than his old friends, so he decided it was time to write the story of it all, and on this cloudy day as the sun broke through and lit the waves, he wrote remembering a day when he was much younger, before the torture that now brought the constant pain, and he wrote with great joy, remembering youth as if it were a miracle. And remembering the miracle itself.
So she ran and came to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved [he preferred to refer to himself in that way], and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."

So Peter and the other disciple went forth, and they were going to the tomb. The two were running together; and the other disciple ran ahead faster than Peter and came to the tomb first; and stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings lying there; but he did not go in.
He remembered his legs trembling -- was it from the run or from what lay before his eyes? -- and his young heart, unmoved by the run itself, pounding in his chest. Then Peter arrived.
And so Simon Peter also came, following him, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings laying there and the face-cloth which had been on his head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.
So the other disciple who had first come to the tomb then also entered, and he saw and believed.
He had understood immediately. This is not how it would look if someone had stolen the body! They wouldn't have unwrapped the linens. They wouldn't have neatly folded the face-cloth. But he knew who would have had such respect for the loving work of others.

If he had never seen his savior arisen, he faith would have been no weaker; he knew. He knew the confusing talk of rising again in three days was the talk of no one less than the Son of God. But how wonderful it was that long ago evening when they had cowardly locked themselves in a windowless room out of fear of the Jews, who now wanted done with these upstarts, to actually see him again.
So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, "Peace be with you."

And when he had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoyced when they saw the Lord.

So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you ..."
And for John it was! Oh, how peace was with him then, as it always has been since!
... "as the Father has sent Me, I also send you."

And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained."
It had been hard to forgive those who had burned him in oil, but it was much easier than it would have been to do what they wanted: To deny the memories that were real, the things he had seen with his own two eyes, and say the Lord had not risen on that wonderful day. He often wondered how there could still be non-believers; all they had to do was think logically and realize that He must have risen; otherwise he and the other 11 would not have suffered so in His name.

As Paul had said before they killed him, there are many emotions, many good things, but the greatest is love ... so he, John, had loved. He forgave those who tortured him and the other believers, and he reached out to them and to anyone who would hear him when he spoke of the love that poured out so mightily from his Lord and savior.

He went back to his book. It was almost done and he knew he must finish it now, for he would see his Lord again soon enough and too many, far too many still needed to be reached.