Death, Part II: I Am Risen In Christ

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It is cold and dark in the upper room where the three disciples are gathered; together in body, yet each lost in private reverie. Emotion huddles in a corner, weeping tears of Sorrow. Reason lies on a cot, staring up into empty space, his head resting on an uncomfortable cushion of Contradiction. Intention paces the room, chafing under the cloak of Guilt he wears. Suddenly, there is a knock on the door, a pounding. A familiar voice calls out: it is Hope, bearing vital news. The disciples all stand and look at each other, wary. The doors are heavily barred against the agents of Fear and Shame, which even now must be seeking to destroy them. To open the door to Hope may give them entry as well.

Emotion appeals to Intention, who looks at Reason. Reason shrugs, so Intention squares his shoulders and heads to the door. With a deep breath, he opens the door, and Hope comes rushing in, followed by Joy. Both women are covered in deep cloaks of Mourning, but the hoods have been thrown back, and their faces are excited. They shout as one, “He is risen!”

The disciples are stunned. Emotion looks at the two women, then the other disciples. He embraces Hope, then takes Joy by the hand and runs to the tomb. Intention follows slowly, more to keep an eye on Emotion than because he trusts Hope. Reason shakes his head sadly, and returns to staring at the blank walls, turning his back on Hope.

[Read More] for the story of what they find at the tomb, as the follow-up to my crucifixion in Part I.

Then darkness turns to dawningI awake. I am lying spread-eagled on a cold marble slab. I slowly sit up, and am surprised to discover that I feel no pain, not even stiffness. In fact, my whole body feels light as a feather. Am I dead? Am I still dead?

I realize I was awakened by a grinding sound from in front. A flash of light penetrates the darkness. My eyes blink, then rapidly adjust. I soon realize that I have been in a dark cave, and someone is allowing Light in. But who? And how?

The grinding stops, and the cave is now flooded with light. I look down at my slab, and realize it was the altar I had been crucified upon. I glance back at where my head had lain, and am surprised to see that inscribed over it had been “King of Self.” I look down to my where my hands had lain, and I see two nails — wait, two piles of nails. The ones on the right are labeled Truth, and the others Love. I glance at my feet, expecting a third nail, but instead find an iron box — exactly what I need to carry the other nails! In fact, they fit in perfectly. The box has no lid, so I can’t turn it over now that it is filled with nails, but my fingers can trace the inscription of Grace on the bottom.

My fingers…

Wonderingly, I set the box down, and look at my hands for the first time. I see the holes in my wrist left by the nails. There is no pain, but the lack of leverage at the wrist makes my hands weak — indeed, while they could lift the box of Grace easily, anything more would be beyond them. Suddenly inspired, I reach into the box and pull out two nails. Yes, they fit the holes perfectly! I anchor my left with Truth, and my right with Love, then flex my fingers; yes, now my hands can bear any weight. In fact, they feel more strong and whole than ever.

I now look to my ankles, expecting similar holes. To my surprise, they appear clean and unbroken. Did they survived unscathed? No, in fact; quite the opposite. They were so ruined that I could not, should not ever stand on my own two feet again. Instead, they appear to have been replaced by Someone Else’s feet, merged so skillfully that it is impossible to tell exactly where He ends and I begin.

Finally, I glance at where my side was pierced, where I see that a hole still exists. I gently probe it with my fingers, and am surprised to see that the hole looks like it extends all the way to my heart! Yet, it is positioned in such a way that I cannot see into it, though someone standing beside (and below) me could. I look for something to fill the hole, but there is nothing else in the cave. I’m sure I could find something Outside that would close the doorway to my heart; but, should I?

At the thought, I hear a soft laugh, greatly amplified by the echoes of the cave. I look up, and am stunned to see the massive, bearded figure of a man standing next to what clearly had been an enormous rock guarding the entrance to my tomb. The figure appears radiant — though that could just be the backlighting. “My Lord?” I whisper, the first words I had spoken since rising.

At that, the figure throws back his head and booms out a laugh. “No,” he chuckles, “I am just a servant like yourself. I have merely come to open the way, that you might go forth.”

“But, where is He, that I might worship Him?” ask I, puzzled.

“He is not here, for He is risen, just as He said,” replies the Messenger. “Quickly, now, go tell His disciples that Jesus Christ is no longer dead.”

“But, how can I go if He not go with me? Who will believe my words?” plead I.

“Those who are called to listen will know you by your scars, and by the feet of Him who brings good news. And do not look hither and yon seeking the Kingdom of God, for the Kingdom of God is within you. It is He that will guard the doorway of your heart, and as long as you leave your heart unguarded all who look within will see Him.”

“But…” I start to say.

“No more buts,” interrupts the Messenger. “Quickly, go. The hour is late, and already much of the Day is past. Soon it will be Night, when no man can work. Arise, take your cloak, and depart.”

With that, the figure of a man places on me the mantle of Responsibility. I receive it and step out into the Light. I hear a shout, and see Emotion running towards me, with Joy. In the distance, Intention draws up, stunned into indecisiveness. I smile, imagining how Reason will be overturned by the incontrovertible fact of my transformation; I will need his help to forge a new hammer for my box of nails, which I suspect will never run out.

Placing my newborn feet to the Path, I begin to run…

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