How could Christ’s followers possibly have understood his death and Resurrection? Jesus tried to prepare them...
It was an Easter moment that came a little early.
I was running through the park on one of these beautiful spring days that we’ve been having. I came down the hill and chased through some cherry blossoms that were falling like snow on the path. A mini blizzard of white and pale pink blew up around me.
All at once I was whisked back to childhood and one of the first full-length musicals I’d ever seen, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel performed at the high school. As anyone who knows me well will tell you, I adore those vintage musicals. I learned all the songs by heart, and would gladly sing them walking down the street if my children didn’t remind me that people gape at a grown man bellowing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” at the top of his voice on Fifth Avenue.
I sat in the second row for this production and when the student actors were singing “If I Loved You,” pale pink and white cherry blossoms tumbled gently down on them. I was close enough to see that the flowers were bits of tissue paper—a blossom or two must have blown offstage. But I also believed with my whole heart that these students were a love-tossed pair in nineteenth-century Maine and those flowers were real.
That day, when I was running through the park, I was thinking about Christ’s followers. How could they have possibly understood his death and Resurrection? Jesus tried to prepare them, telling them that unless a grain of wheat dies it doesn’t bear fruit. But those words were only hints at the truth, like my tissue-paper blossoms.
What confusion must have accompanied the disciples as they rushed to the empty tomb, searching for their Lord. When Mary Magdalene saw Jesus, she mistook him for the gardener. “Where have you put him?” she asked. He only had to say her name, “Mary,” and she knew it was Jesus. “Rabbi,” she said. “Teacher.”
Will you believe me if I say my little blizzard of cherry blossoms felt like God calling my name in the park? He knew what message would catch my attention, a vivid reminder of that student production in the high school auditorium. It was my Easter sign, painted in nature’s Technicolor.
The Lord is risen. He is risen indeed.
Don’t tell my kids, but I’ll be singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” at the top of my lungs very soon.