Skip to comments.the Dark before the Dawn
Posted on 04/07/2007 4:48:05 PM PDT by Salvation
Other Articles by Sylvia Dorham
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|The Dark Before Dawn|
It's Friday night, after they have hastily entombed the body.
John brings Mary back to the house. He puts her downstairs in a sleeping room, and climbs the ladder to the Upper Room.
Peter is sitting on the floor against the wall. John tells him what happened. Peter curls into fetal position on the floor and sobs.
John looks up to see Mary climbing unsteadily into the room. Peter's cries have roused her.
Mary, consoling Peter, sits with him on the floor, wiping tears from his beard and staunching his running nose. She sops his sweat with her mantle, and he sees blood on it. He bursts into a fresh paroxysm of tears. She hugs his head to her, rocking him. Petting his head, reminding him to strengthen his brothers.
He is ashamed that she is nursing his weakness as she only recently nursed her son's strength, but it is without bitterness that he climbs to his feet and, with her encouragement, begins to welcome each of the disciples as they trickle furtively back into the Upper Room, each as ashamed as Peter at their betrayal.
It is the Sabbath.
Like criminals, stealthily, they have returned to the place they were last together. Peter seats them at the table. He breaks the bread and blesses the wine, serving each. They choke it down, remembering.
Peter has John tell what happened.
He tells them how Mary is their mother now. They must care for her.
The others relate what they heard during the night. Plans to hunt down and kill the disciples. Earthquake damage reports. Rumors about Judas' suicide. Anger and disbelief over what he did. Incomprehension. In fury, they cry.
Peter tells them to sleep, and they curl up on the floor, miserable but together.
All day, the Sabbath, they sleep, eat when they can, pray quietly, and make Mary comfortable. Everyone is very quiet for fear someone will come and drag them away to be crucified.
Each disciple glances at Mary, now their special charge, who, looking dazed, spends much time holding John's hand. She is very quiet. At mid-day, she puts a veil over her face. An occasional caught breath is the only indication of her emotion.
James travels covertly through the city and brings other women to the upstairs chamber to sit with her. They try to get her to eat.
The women plan a proper burial. Too hasty, last night. The men quietly slip into the streets to obtain supplies. They cannot travel far. Several friends provide the hundred pounds of herbs, ointments, and spices. The women will stay overnight.
Peter doesn't want to go. There is a guard detail at the tomb, he's heard. They'll arrest him the moment they see him. No one will bother an old lady and her companions as they embalm a dead body, but him! He fights the urge to run.
The day creeps into evening, and the pit in Peter's stomach grows heavier. He decides to go home. To Capernaum. At least he can still fish, even if the townspeople laugh at him for his itinerant preaching days.
In the morning. He'll go in the morning.
A distant roar wakes John. It's a heavy noise which reverberates like a living sound over the sleeping city. He gets up and tiptoes past the somnolent disciples to waken the women. It is still dark, but the sun will be up and the Sabbath over by the time they are ready. Each woman will carry a heavy jar of ointment. Mary will take the spices.
John opens the front door furtively, peering up the street before beckoning with his hands to the women, a silent black parade who follow him as far as the edge of the garden, where Mary insists he return home. John is almost back to the house when he is overtaken by running soldiers. They are disheveled with wild eyes. Some are missing their equipment.
John presses himself against a house, hoping to be overlooked, but the soldiers fly past as if the very gates of hell were loosed at their heels. John steals back to the Upper Room, not missed by the sleeping disciples.
The sun creeps up. Peter's been asleep. Warm. Comfortable. It's the moment between waking and remembering.
The door is flung open by a wild, round-eyed woman, yelling! The disciples are dazed. Half asleep, they tell her to calm down. Dust dances in the streams of sunlight pouring through the windows she's thrown open.
They shield their eyes, annoyed. Wondering at her impropriety.
From the ashes of anguish in Peter's heart, there leaps a bolt of ecstatic hope at her words. Oh God! Can it be?
Exchanged looks with John. This would be just like Jesus! Their eyes meet in wordless agreement. They bolt from the house, clattering down the ladder past the woman who is breathing hard, too excited to say more.
She follows Peter and John and the other apostles who are struggling into coats and straggling after them through quiet, early morning streets.
A million thoughts fly through Peter's brain "Son of Man will rise again," is this what he meant? Oh God! Oh God! Please! Please!
John gets to the garden first and runs to Mary, who is standing, still and beautiful, a look of profound peace on her countenance. He stands with her, looking into the tomb.
Peter stumbles to them, and stops short, gasping, digging fingers into his side against the cramp. He tries to make sense of the massive boulder flung like a child's toy away from the entrance. It is fifty cubits UP the hill, lodged behind a clump of trees.
Several spears and helmets are scattered about as if abandoned in great haste.
Impulsively, unable to think, he shoulders past Mary and John and plunges into the cool darkness of the tomb.
The cave is deep, but light pours in through the entrance. Peter gives a strangled cry and falls to his knees, clutching at the burial shroud.
It is empty.
This little scenario brought tears to my eyes. Perhaps it will touch you in the same way.
**”Son of Man will rise again,” is this what he meant? **
Still crying here. Thank you Lord Jesus, for coming to die for our sins and save us.
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That was lovely! Thank you.
A most credible rendition of what might have really happened.
When I had read this story, I think first thing of the song, “He’s Alive!”. The story is very touching, gives one pause to realized how choatic that fateful weekend was.
What a neat meditation! Thank you for sharing.
Beautiful. Just beautiful. Please post it every Easter!
I loved it.
HE HAS RISEN!
After the day of darkness came a morning like no other.We do not know if Easter morning happened this way.But we must all agree, something did happened!Something happened to make men who hid in terror come into the light again proclaiming this man who was nailed to a tree by his enemies had risen! Our sins were now forgiven because of his torture on the cross and that He is with us always! What did happen ? We are saved through the sacrifice of one Solitary Man.Jesus never left the middle east he never traveled far from home. But one man changes the world with HIS LIFE, HIS Horrible death and HIS Resurrection. May this day live in your hearts , may you remember this morning. May we never forget our Lord,He never forgot us. May the peace and Joy of Easter be yours everyday , all the days of your life.HAPPY EASTER ! God loves us all!
**But one man changes the world with HIS LIFE, HIS Horrible death and HIS Resurrection. **
Happy Happy Easter,Christ has risen! Even better HE IS ALIVE!
Beautiful. Thanks for posting it.
Thanks and a beautiful Easter Season to you and your family.
Other Articles by Fr. Jerome Magat
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|An Unforgettable Morning|
Every time we celebrate morning Mass on Easter Sunday, we hear the same eyewitness account taken from the Gospel of St. John. One of the unique features of this account is the painstaking detail John devotes to the status of the burial cloths and the cloth that covered our Lord's head in the tomb.
The Greek version of this account reveals a much more vivid description of the status of the burial cloths in the tomb than our English translation. In Greek, the words used to describe the condition of the burial cloths suggest that the linens were deflated or flattened, not pushed aside as we do with a blanket or comforter when we arise each morning. Instead, the Greek translation suggests that our Lord passed right through the linens.
We also read that the cloth (in Latin, a sudarium) that covered our Lord's head was rolled up in a separate place. A sudarium was used to cover the head of the deceased and was tied with a knot at the top. When our Lord's body arrived at the tomb for burial having been transported from Calvary, the sudarium was removed and the burial shroud placed over the head. The knot would have given the sudarium a twisted or rolled-up appearance.
The status of both the burial cloths and the sudarium suggests that the Resurrection transcends all the laws of nature. This should remind us that the Resurrection is not the same phenomenon as what happened to Lazarus, who was raised from the dead. Unlike the Resurrected Christ, who would never die again, Lazarus would surely experience death a second time. Unlike the Resurrected Christ who passes through the linen burial cloths, Lazarus would have to be unbound of his bandages.
Thus, the Resurrection reveals an entirely new dimension of existence. A resurrected body is a glorified body, capable of passing through walls and doors; not subject to disease or death; and a body that enjoys a certain luminous glow and total perfection. In this single event of the Resurrection, Christ's human body and human soul were reunited. And so, we believe that at the final judgment, cemeteries will be very busy places because every human body will be reconstituted in a glorified state and rejoined to the soul that once animated it to either enjoy the eternal bliss of heaven or the eternal fires of hell.
While we have evidence of an empty tomb and eye-witnesses, the Resurrection is still a matter of faith for it reveals a level of existence well beyond ordinary human comprehension. The gift of faith is needed in order to begin to scratch the surface of what this mystery really means.
Some readers of this column may have attended or at least seen the television broadcast of Easter Sunday Mass at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The grand basilica serves as testimony to Peter's martyrdom in Rome so many years ago. This martyrdom is a kind of "proof" that the Resurrection really happened. After all, it was Peter who accompanied John to the tomb on the eyewitness account of Mary Magdalene. Peter himself saw and conversed with our Resurrected Lord. Peter's faith led him to give his life as a martyr because he knew he was assured of the Resurrection so long as he remained faithful to the end.
May the example of the martyrs and the testimony of the Apostles inspire within us greater faith, hope and love in the Resurrected One, who promises us a new, transcendent and glorified existence, as a reward for our fidelity to Him.
Thank you, and the same to you.
Easter Ping. He is Risen, Alleluia!
Thanks for posting, it brought tears to my eyes as well.
Have a blessed Sunday evening.
I saw the end of Jesus of Nazareth, the six hour miniseries version. It was a beautiful description of what might have happened. Mary is telling the disciples and John and Thomas immediately discount it. They seek support from the other Apostles and they come to Peter. He has a lost look on his face and he says that he believes her, because he said it. Thomas points out that Peter denied Jesus and Peter enraged points out that while he betrayed Jesus, they all did, that he (Peter) was a coward and abandoned Jesus. It ends with him saying he believes, it had to be, it was to be. It was quite touching and a description of what the upper room might have been like when the women returned to the Apostles upon finding the empty tomb.
It’s an imaging of it, not scripture. We’re not given much detail anyway, so we don’t know much more than the faintest outline of what happened between the burial of Jesus and the women leaving to go visit the grave of Jesus, so writers will imagine to fill in the blanks, collate the various accounts, and come up with a narrative.
I meditate on this all a lot myself, and I have a pretty strong imagining of what it might be like, but I will be the first to tell you, these are my meditations and imaginings, not history. Pious speculation, rooted in the text, geography and history if I can find it, but not more than that.
I suspect the writer was doing something similar.
Sort of a human thing to do. Been done by a lot of writers over the centuries. Some have been best sellers. None of them are the Gospel text.
That is true like I said it is a nice story just not theological correct in the time line.
Poetic license/continuity mistakes...I wouldn’t have imaged it quite that way myself, and saw a few bugs, but I still enjoyed it. One of the joys of no longer being an English teacher is not having to point out the bugs any more! LOL!
A nice devotional piece, even so.
That is why I haven’t seen the Patriot yet...I AM too much of a history buff, sometimes it gets in the way. ;)
Specifically, I know it doesn’t follow scripture exactly. But it could have happened this way, couldn’t it?
Something similar...in tone, if not detail!
I just got this in an email — not exactly the way to bake cookies, but a cute way to think about the tomb of Jesus.
EASTER STORY COOKIES
To be made the evening before Easter
1 cup whole pecans
1 tsp. vinegar
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 300 degrees
(this is important-don’t wait
until you’re half done with the recipe)!
Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the
wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was
He was beaten by the Roman soldiers.
Read John 19:1-3.
Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl.
Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross,
He was given vinegar to drink.
Read John 19:28-30.
Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus
gave His life to give us life.
Read John 10:10-11.
Sprinkle a little salt into each child’s hand. Let them taste it and
brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty
tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and the bitterness of our own sin.
Read Luke 23:27.
So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1cup sugar.
Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died
because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him.
Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16.
Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks
are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in
God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus.
Read Isa. 1:18 and John 3:1-3.
Fold in broken nuts Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie
Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body
Read Matt. 27:57-60.
Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven
Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that
Jesus’ tomb was sealed.
Read Matt. 27:65-66.
GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the
oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was
Read John 16:20 and 22.
On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice
the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the
first Easter, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and
Read Matt. 28:1-9
Share The Easter Cookie Story With Your Friends
That is cute!