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On the third day, a small group of His followers went to the tomb. But the large stone that sealed it had been rolled away. And the tomb was empty.
“There’s nothing here but some linens,” said Peter.
He didn’t know what to think. He’d seen his Friend do some amazing things, but this beat all.
“Where is He?” Peter said frantically. “What would Jesus do?”
“He might have gone somewhere to pray,” said another disciple.
“Or He might already have gone home to His Father,” said Peter morosely.
“I don’t think so,” said Mary Magdalene.
“Well, you knew him better than we did,” said Peter.
“I knew him differently,” said Mary Magdalene. “You guys were all too busy taking notes to ever have an actual conversation.”
She said they should look in town. So that’s what they did. They found Him sitting on a bench watching some boys kick a ball. The boys were laughing. They sat down next to Him and for a while nobody said anything.
“Well, I guess You’re not dead any longer,” said the other disciple, knowing how ridiculous that sounded.
“Apparently not,” He said.
“Was it — was it, different?” said the other disciple, piling inanity on inanity.
“I suppose,” He said, His eyes still on the boys at play.
“Well, three days!” said the other disciple heartily. “I could do three days standing on my head.”
He said nothing, and the other disciple decided he would just shut up.
Mary Magdalene touched His hand. “I saw You weeping on the cross. Was it terrible?”
“Yes,” he said. “It caught Me unaware.”
“The pain of the nails?” said Peter?
“Not really. It was the scent of olive oil and frying fish in the wind. A stag motionless on a far hill that for some reason I couldn't tear my eyes from. One of the soldiers was singing a tune I hadn’t heard in years. I know how trivial this sounds and I was sure I’d be impervious to all of it. And yet…”
“Now you can hear that music for all eternity,” Peter observed.
“But not as a man,” said Mary Magdalene.
“No, not as a man,” He said.
“But surely it’s a relief to cast off all earthly longings and concerns,” said Peter.
He did not answer directly.
“Perhaps, as eternity unfolds, My story will offer different messages to different people,” He reflected. "The ones who renounce all earthly pleasures, who close their ears to music and their eyes to beauty and their tongues and noses to the feast, can be confident that those abominations will not distract them in paradise from whatever it is they intend to do there. The ones denied all such pleasures on earth can at least hope for better in heaven. And as for those who know life for what it is and ought to be, who dance and laugh and on occasion weep, they can thank God that when life is taken from them they will not miss it. Because, as I all too briefly was, they will be dead.”
“That’s a very complicated message to get across,” said Peter, already looking ahead anxiously to the church he intended to found.
“Now I know the human heart,” He said. “They’ll find a way to do it.”