"Risen"

(a version of this entry is posted on “Escape from Averageness” every year during Easter week)

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Easter 2012, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

The intrepid, results-based consultant reclined into the natural seat, at the back edge of one of the dry-eddy pools, where the beach resumed its slope more steeply upward, toward the dunes. She dug her bare feet into still-wet sand, and felt the remnant of last night’s high tide through her jeans and shirt. It felt good, she thought, as she rested her arms on her knees, gazed eastward, and studied the movement of sea and sky. She smiled, as she felt the morning sun, only moments above the horizon, yet already warming to her face, on what was still a cool morning in northeast Florida, even for early April.

She was comfortable in her element. A native Floridian, she loved the waters and land of her home state, although she wished she could have seen for herself the Cracker Florida her dad liked to tell her about – the Florida of his youth, as he would describe it, before air conditioning, before hordes of people, before interstates and theme parks.

This was her routine, every year, on Easter morning. Arrive before sunrise, take it in.

Her thoughts went back to the pre-dawn darkness of the very first Easter morning, to what the disillusioned friends and followers of the one they called Jesus of Nazareth must have been thinking, as they hid in fear. By every rational explanation and every shred of evidence, this man of so much promise, in whom they had placed so much hope, was dead. They had been eyewitnesses to that unquestionable death, and the effects of the torture that preceded it; Roman crucifixions left nothing to the imagination. They had been witnesses to his burial, and the security of his tomb.

It was more than the physical death of one man; it was the death of faith and hope.

Her thoughts moved to a time, not far removed at all from the darkness of the days immediately following the death of Jesus, as Peter and others publicly asserted that they were the subsequent eyewitnesses to the effect of His resurrection and the actuality of His ascension, and that, far from abandoning their faith in fear for their own lives and succumbing to hopelessness, they were willing to live their lives – to give their lives – for the lives of others, and for the faith and the hope that His crucifixion, death and resurrection gave all of them.

So it has been, that decision, she thought, for every Christian, ever since. So it was for her.

She smiled again, and whispered.

“Risen”.