Sunday, April 24, 2011
The tomb is empty, He is not there...
Good Morning, the women went to prepare the body - it was women's work, cleaning and dressing the body of their man, son, brother, husband, father. It helps to say their farewell and it gives them peace.
But the body wasn't there. They run back to the men to tell them, men that may have been hiding, drinking and in deep sorrow - eleven disciples didn't run to the tomb to see if the women were right, only a few. The others thought about what could have happened. The temple party had taken the body (but truly religious men wouldn't handle criminal dead) the Romans had taken the body (they would have left him on the cross forever if they had wanted to make a stronger statement - they hadn't). No one knew what had happened, they didn't have understanding, they had so little faith, they were sure the miracles were over. John the Baptist had lost his head, Jesus had been condemned and crucified, Peter had denied his Master to save his life, three times. Do you see yourself in any of the mourning? or are you one of the thousands, and tens of thousands that got up on that morning, broke your fast, and got to work, went to open the shop, play a few rounds of golf with your friends - okay, the game was still waiting, but they did feed the animals, move the merchandise, greet each other and think about the crazy last week and what to do next. A very real Holy Man was gone, the stories about his miracles still mentioned, those touched by His grace were so sad - there had been so much promise in what he said, so wonderful as He preached and taught and wandered and walked. His disciples were still out there, would they carry on?
I have a testimony, a personal one.
God spoke to me. Once. Three words.
I was in the computer cave, and He spoke, a complete sentence, a command. And it was clear, and from my left, but it wasn't sound. And as I heard and understood exactly who had spoken, no it has never happened before, I was immediately flooded with all the links to why, who, what, where, when and how I should do what He commanded. You have no idea how frightening that is, unless you are a paratrooper, Masterblaster and long time religious kind of guy. My family has been in the business of spreading the Gospel for years, generations of mighty Methodists and Missionaries.
So I knew what was going to happen, and I did what Earl has always done, what I think I have been trained to do. I started immediately going through the reasons I shouldn't do exactly what I had just been told, shown, explained and trusted to do the way God wanted it done. I would do it MY WAY, and it would still be good, okay - I would do it my way... it had worked in school, worked in the Army, the Airborne and the libraries - kind of.
Of all my sins, and there have been many, this one is the greatest of my burdens -- for it wasn't as good and okay doing it my way. I wasn't strong enough to do what needed done on my own. I really hope that no one was hurt, really hope that only I have the scars to hide, really hope that I will be forgiven. I once wondered at the judge named Gideon, testing God's guidance with the dew, I understand now. In my time I actually did what I was commanded - but I was still just Earl, I had had my chance and blew it. So much better at destroying things than creating them, am I.
God is still great, the tomb is empty -- the rest of the story to be told and written. Speak to God, pray daily, many times, learn the lessons, live the Love, and maybe you will be spoken to personally. Then do exactly as told, although if you ever wormed your way out of a homework assignment, quibbled over proper conduct and defended current morality and PC attitudes you might fall short of the glory that God has given you. Get back up, ask for forgiveness and try again, He is waiting, the tomb is empty. He has Risen.