We are the Easter witnesses and we have stretched out the hand and felt along His scars and we have seen ours healed and when Dead bodies walk, who can not talk?
When the Farmer turns the thin pages of the Gospel of Mark on Easter Monday morning, I hear the whisper of wild hope.
He reads Scripture and the words make me see it, the eyes widening white in black tomb emptiness, the disciples who cowered in upper rooms straighten up into tall spines fearless, and I can feel it too, the pillars that hold everything begin to shake.
After Easter, because of Easter, through the resurrection power of Easter.
I turn to the working man at the end of the table bent over a Bible, my eyes all wonder round. “This is just the beginning! Why would I take down the remnants of Easter… when this is just when the early church takes off! Why have I never seen it? Easter is just the beginning and I want to walk with the early church and the wonder of disciples who aren’t afraid anymore and could we really live the wonder of resurrection — dead man WALKING— and will you read that passage over again?”
The Farmer smiles. He’s used to me, child racing breathless. He reads the passage aloud again.
And four year-old me that never quite grew up interrupts him: “That’s what Christ said after His resurrection — that He says that we’ll do if we believe? Really? We’ll drive out demons?
Speak new languages? Can you show me where you were reading that?”
I’m already leaning over his shoulder. His grease-grooved finger points to the very end of the book of Mark, the end of chapter 16, and I whisper it again:
“And these signs will accompany those who believe:
In my name they will drive out demons;
they will speak in new tongues;
they will pick up snakes with their hands;
and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all.”
We sit there a long time, riveted, and those words reverberate, Easter earthquake.
And I whisper after the trembling: “That is what it means to be the Easter people.”
Do I always pack up Easter after Resurrection Sunday because I don’t want to be one of the Easter People?
I look across to our lily in the window, the nail spikes laid out beside them.
“I’ve never seen any of those signs.”
Levi’s quietly listening on the window seat. He’s half turned towards the window, telling us, but not facing us, not letting our eyes mirror his, because sometimes when we voice doubts we have to turn away from even facing ourselves.
“I’ve never seen any of those signs ever.”
Where were the Easter People? Where were the accompanying signs that the resurrected Christ promised to us as proof of our belief?
Does no one believe?
Levi doesn’t turn away from the window. The Farmer and I stare out across tilled fields too. No one talks.
Were we not the Easter people at all? Our lack of signs — were they proof?
It’s my own voice speaking soft, slow, that surprises me.
“Levi… what if you’d once thrown out the demons of selfishness?
Or you speak in the tongues of grace-love?
Or when you were pierced with the fangs of rejection and malice and you forgave while you had that snake in your hand … and forgiveness inoculated you from the hurt….”
Levi turns to me, hopeful, ready to face us, himself. “Is that what it means?”
I smile…. “Is that what it means?”
He smiles too.
Could we live those signs of resurrection here?
We don’t pack up Easter.
We purpose to live Easter.
And I cut out a butterfly, resurrection, new life, and I puddy it to a curl of wire, and I let it begin to fly, one day at a time, from Easter Sunday to Ascension, and it will be a ring of forty days, the same as Lent, and again we’ll circle the wreath, Christ’s rising words at the center.
Forty days to Ascension to live His resurrection proofs:
the selfish demons fleeing,
the new language of love spoken in never before places,
the bitter poison of this world remedied by grace.
Could Easter become not a weekend but a season, a season of His signs?
Easter Tuesday morning I find Levi fingering the butterfly hopeful.
And I watch him pick it up and he marks another day.
Faith takes wing.
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