Friday, 25 April 2014

The Spirit and the Cross

 A reflection for Good Friday
Imagined reflections of Jesus, on the road to the Cross...

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane
They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I pray.’ He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. And he said to them, ‘I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.’ And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. He said, ‘Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.’


'Peace, in the Garden of Gethsemane?? Peace, God’s peace, can be found in the most unlikely places. The turmoil, the anguish are overwhelming. My passion for the world, my passion for my Father, have collided head on with my own frailty, my own mortality, and - yes - my own fears. Yet here, with my Father, in prayer, his immeasurable love lifts me once again, lifts me me out of the fear, to new strength - to new peace. Peace with my mortality, peace with my Father, peace with the world. Now I am ready - ready to face the road ahead, the road to death.'

Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested
Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.’ So when he came, he went up to him at once and said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed him. Then they laid hands on him and arrested him.


'Friends. It’s been good to have my friends these last years. We’ve shared much together, as I’ve nurtured and encouraged them, and stuck with them through some testing moments as a group. Now in this moment I stand face to face with betrayal. Oh, Judas, my friend… Yet it is not mine to condemn the faithlessness in others - it is only to remain faithful to them, always, come what may. Judas, feel my breath on your face - my breath of acceptance, forgiveness, believing the best of you even now… And yes, the other friends are now melting away too - those protestations of fearlessness and commitment seem a long way away now, the manly courage evaporating in the heat of this danger. They may be faithless, but God remains faithful to them, eternally.'


Jesus is judged by Pilate
Pilate asked them, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Crucify him!’ So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.


'There sits Pilate, riven with anxiety about the political decision he’s got to make - his heart moved, his conscience disturbed by the presence of someone in front of him who seems to have all the time in the world. Indeed, I have waited since the beginning of time for this moment of redemption for the world. There is no rush, let things take their natural course… I know people need time to work things out, to make their decisions their own, to find the integrity and resolve they know is in them. And I can give them all the time they need, I can be patient. But how sad that people so often give in, hasten and misjudge - and look what the consequences can be…' 

Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns
And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him.


'I understand them, those soldiers - typical adrenaline-filled young men, intoxicated in the moment with the power they hold over this pathetic Jewish rebel. Anger rises in me - but it is anger for them, not at them - anger at the distortion of their true selves that they have become, their slavery to the cycle of violence. Which is why I’m here today, to save them from that, to open up a better way. And so, this moment with me may be the only glimpse of God these young men ever get - seen in my self-control. And they know that’s strength, not weakness.' 

Jesus carries the cross
After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.


'Joy - can there really be joy today? Certainly there is joy ahead. I know my Father - I know grief cannot be the end. What my Father does he does in superlatives, and the other side of desolating grief must be pure joy. Yes, that lies somewhere beyond. But joy now?? being led out to die?? Well, yes, even now, welling up in precious waves. Between the floods of sorrow and pain, I feel my Father’s love for me even in this. And as I shoulder the burdens of the world, I myself am lifted momentarily by the joy that this will bring the world. Joy, I discover, also comes in the most unlikely places.' 

Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
A great number of the people followed him, and among them  were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely coming when they will say, “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.” Then they will begin to say to the mountains,“Fall on us”; and to the hills,“Cover us.” For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?’


'Sometimes the truth needs to be spoken - how can I not warn them of the traumas yet to come. But it is how it is spoken that matters so much. Gentleness. ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.’ So many things are burdens that needn’t be. My gentle way soothes the sores, sows trust, lifts the heart. Some say it’s not a manly quality. But all my disciples have valued it, the men and the women - and even the toughest ones are showing signs of being more gentle now. Being with me, seeing God in action, is rubbing off.' 

Jesus is crucified
And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take.


'Generosity is about giving - open-handedly, warmly, freely, without expecting return. Could I give any more than I am right now? No. I am giving my body, my love, my overwhelming affection for the world. I am giving away my power. I am surrendering all those false images of God as the ultimate Controller and Dominator. I am giving the love that fills the universe. I am giving my life.'

Jesus on the cross: his mother and his friend 
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.


'This is what happens when you are immersed in the love of the Father, when you are filled with the Holy Spirit, when every fibre of your being is consumed with love for others. Even when in your darkest hour, kindness to those around you just can’t help leaking out. My mother - oh, how I grieve for her. She bore the Son of God inside her, she bore him into the world, and now she bears my sorrow as only a mother can. I can’t stretch out my arm to embrace her. I can scarcely swivel my head to look into her eyes. Yet my few words cascade down upon her like a waterfall of kindness, immersing her, embracing her. She’s wracked with sorrow but she is safe.'

Jesus dies on the cross
At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, ‘Listen, he is calling for Elijah.’ And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.’ Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.


'The last drops of my life are draining away. The chord to my Father is breaking, breaking, down to its final thread… The darkness of death, the darkness of the world is enveloping me. The light is going out… The dawn will come - our light, our love will rise again. But when? How long, how hard will be the night?? Will my Father be with me, or will I be alone? Will it feel an instant - or an eternity?… Greater love has no man - greater love has no God - than this… '

Alphaeus adds:
St Paul describes the 'fruit of the Spirit' as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians chapter 5).
The Scripture passages are taken from the Gospels of Mark, Luke and John.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

"Get your Wonder Water here! Resurrection guaranteed!"

a sketch for Easter


Jerusalem, a few days after the Resurrection. 
Marcus is a stall-holder, selling bottled water... 

Marcus: Wonder Water! Wonder Water! Get your Wonder Water here. Resurrection guaranteed!

Alphaeus: Morning!… What’s this Wonder Water you’ve got, then? 

Marcus: [ignoring him] ...As drunk by Jesus of Nazareth! You’ve heard the news, now be part of it! Resurrection guaranteed. Penny a bottle! five bottles for threp’nce!

Alphaeus: Excuse me, excuse me!… [finally gets attention] So where did you get this water, mate?

Marcus: Source guaranteed! There’s only one place - the well his mates got their water from, you know for the meal, night before he died. 

Alphaeus: That was just ordinary water. 
Marcus: No, no! Wonder Water. How else do you think he came back to life?! 

Alphaeus: But he’s the only one who’s come back to life!

Marcus: He’s the only one of them who’s died! 100% results. Don’t believe me? Try it - nothing to lose!

Alphaeus: But, er, why do you think it was the water??

Marcus: ‘Cos he said so, didn’t he? ‘Anyone who drinks the water I give them will live for ever’. You see, I’ve been following him, I know what he said. Wonder Water, that was his pitch - I’m just following in his esteemed footsteps - I’m a disciple, you see!

Alphaeus: But he wasn’t talking about water from a well - he was talking about himself!

Marcus: And you think I’m talking nuts?! You can’t drink a person! Wouldn’t look too good in these bottles, would it - what would you put in? - bits of leg floating around, an eye for visual impact - all topped up with blood?? This might be the Roman Empire, mate, but I don’t see that one getting past Trading Standards!

Alphaeus: Quite true, that wouldn’t sell too well! No, he was talking spiritual stuff.

Marcus: But he’s been walking around, they all say - though I haven’t seen him myself - or are you saying that’s all a load of cobblers??

Alphaeus: Well, it is weird. He’s had meals - he’s drunk water - though not your bottles, as far as I know! But he’s also somehow different - he’s appeared through walls, and things like that. The same - but different. It’s like this body he has: it’s a demonstration, that resurrection’s for everybody - that we can be the same but different too!

Marcus: You’re not making sense, mate… Don’t have to believe me about Wonder Water if you don’t want to - that’s your choice! But it’s still the best mineral water around - here, look at the bottle, look at those minerals - it’s been underground, you see! Great value for a penny a bottle - and you look like a family man: I’ll do you my Family Special - a crate for a shekel - can’t say fairer than that!

Alphaeus: Ah, you’ve got me thinking now - about things going underground. You see, Jesus’ body still had the marks of the nails from being on the Cross, and the other scars. Why do you think that was?

Marcus: Is this some sort of riddle, mate? Let me guess… he’d popped into the make-up department of ‘Jerusalem J’ramatics’.

Alphaeus: No, no - the scars were real. (Thomas did have a macabre idea - but I won’t go into that.) It’s like your mineral water: once it’s gone through the rock it’s never the same again. It’s still water, but even better - it’s the minerals from its experience under the ground that gives it its unique invigorating quality.

Marcus: That’s what I’m trying to tell you! Actually, that’s good patter for my pitch - thanks!

Alphaeus: Yeah, but what Jesus brings is in a different league - even from your water, dare I say so! You see, he’s gone through death, the most awful death, and that experience is now part of his new body - the nail marks are still there.

Marcus: If I’d gone through that, I wouldn’t want to be carrying around some gory memento of it, reminded of the pain every day - ditch the past, the glory days are here!

Alphaeus: But we can’t erase the past, can we? We can bury it, deny it, but we can’t erase it. That's what Jesus knew. But he showed we could redeem it, redeem the past - well he could, for us. Our past becomes part of something new and beautiful, even better than it was before - we become God’s new creation, if you like.

Marcus: Well, you got me stumped there, mate. Quite a bit for old Marcus to chew over, I must say. Most guys coming by don’t even give me the time of day, so I appreciate that… But you know the most nutty thing about your story - you’ve given it to me for free! What’s the point of that?! You gotta make a buck where you can, a little here, a little there… So, a crate for you, mate! - it’s gonna be a hot day - I can see your family lighting up when you walk in with this under your arm!

Alphaeus: Alright, it’s a deal!

Marcus: And remember, any elderly relatives in the family - of course give them priority. Let me know how they get on - I have every confidence!
Alphaeus adds (for 21st century readers):
For the authorised version of the story, see John chapter 20

Monday, 14 April 2014

Punishment or Grace? The Cross

a reflection for Good Friday

Two individuals are walking with Jesus to the Cross, one on either side of him.
One is Punishment, the other is Grace...

Jesus condemned to death
They bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate. The chief priests accused him of many things. So Pilate asked him, "Aren't you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of." But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.  Pilate spoke to the crowd. "What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?" "Crucify him!" they shouted. "Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate. 
 They shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!" Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
Punishment: See, Jesus, you deserve it. That sense you’ve had of being special, unique, not deserving of punishment like everybody else - it was all your self-delusion. You’ve got what was coming to you - we reap what we sow, do we not? Roman justice is the best in the world; you don’t think you’re the one exception, do you?

Grace: It was the people, and the religious authorities, who wanted to crucify you. They are the ones in error. But they are blind and don’t see what they are doing - they will see, in time, and be truly sorry. Meanwhile, I, Grace, am with you - you can forgive them.

Jesus and the soldiers 

The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace and called together the rest of the company. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him.  And they began to call out to him, "Hail, king of the Jews!" Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spat on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him.  And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.


Punishment: You think the soldiers are being cruel and unfair, don’t you? No, they know this is how the world works - they get punished, and in turn they pass it on to others - such as you. Its me, Punishment, who keeps everything in order, stops the world descending into chaos, maintains authority. I, Punishment, make things fair.

Grace: Remember how you turned the order of things upside down? - showed forgiveness at every opportunity, showed that I, Grace, am the true and good pattern? You were right! It’s hard to hold on to me when all around preach punishment. But you have shown true poverty of spirit - well done, keep going - the kingdom of God will be yours.

Jesus carries his cross

'Who would have believed what we now tell?  Who could have seen God’s hand in this?'
  (Isaiah 53)
Punishment: Quite! It takes some distorting of your rosy image of God being love, doesn’t it? And that’s because he’s not. He’s vindictive, punitive, demanding - just as everyone fears he is. Your story of the loving father who welcomed home the prodigal son with outstretched arms - pure fantasy, and pampering to what people want to believe.

Grace: You and the Father are one - you were absolutely right - there is no need for a wedge to be driven between you. You and the Father both love the world - you are doing this together, you are suffering together. Love is an extraordinarily difficult road to walk sometimes. And take heart, no-one will ever have to walk the road you're on, the hardest-ever road, again.

Simon helps Jesus carry his cross

On their way through Jerusalem they met a man named Simon, who was coming into the city from the country, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross

Punishment: What was it you said? ‘If anyone wants to be my follower, they must take up their cross and follow me’? You’ve burdened people - with guilt and obligation and self-loathing. This innocent young man, so dutifully thinking he is doing the good thing: look into his eyes - if you dare - and see his fear of what will happen to him if he lets down ‘The Master’.

Grace: Yes, do have the courage to look into Simon’s eyes. Yes, he is conflicted, he doesn’t understand, he can’t make sense of the brutality of the Roman crucifixions, he does feel burdened by his guilt and his failures that he knows only too well. But the love for him in your eyes will dispel all of that. He may be physically burdened with a heavy wooden cross, but inside he will now be free - and he will follow you to the top of the hill even with joy. Take heart!

Jesus speaks with women from Jerusalem

A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.  Jesus turned and said to them, ‘Women of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.’


Punishment: You are cruel. You’re breaking so many hearts - particularly women’s. You were the ultimate charmer - kind-hearted, listening, making each woman feel special. You were their dream husband, and you knew you were leading them on. And now you ram it back in their faces - ‘weep for yourselves’, you say. Yes, they will, because you have let them down. They will never forgive you.

Grace: Each word you speak sparkles like a gem to these women. They will take your words deeply to heart and be strengthened by them. And your presence with them now, sharing the suffering world with which they battle every day, will stay with them forever. You know the resilience women have, and you have given them the heart to endure.

Jesus crucified

They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha which means The Place of the Skull. Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. Then they crucified him and divided up his clothing among themselves, throwing dice to see who would get each piece of clothing.

Punishment: Man is made in God’s image, is he not? So look at the wonderfully creative ways man has devised to be cruel. Where does he get that from? I wonder... Or, perhaps God is just sitting there, casually rolling the dice of destiny - and ‘Ooops, there goes Jesus - oh, I am sorry about that. But nothing’s fair in the world, you should know that’.

Grace: Taking responsibility. You are giving the most amazing lesson, in taking responsibility. Everyone has tried to avoid doing so - the religious people, Pilate - even the soldiers would say they’re just doing their job. But you are taking responsibility, not just for yourself but for everyone. The mess people have made of the world - you are showing them that God is not blaming them for it but shouldering their responsibility, their burden, their consequences. They will thank you and worship you for it.

Jesus on the cross

It was nine o clock in the morning when they crucified him.  The people stayed there watching him, the leaders jeered at him and the soldiers mocked him.  Some women, his friends from Galilee, looked on at a distance.

Punishment: So now you know what suffering is like. Now you know what the people you created have to go through. You were there when the world was created, so you say. Are you so pleased now? You regret it, don’t you? Now that you’ve seen into the jaws of death, you will suffer infinite regret, you will punish yourself, for all eternity.

Grace: The darkness is indeed closing in. But close your eyes for a moment, and see the light. The smouldering wick will not go out, the light will overcome the darkness. The light of your Father’s love shines on you even now. And your light is - right now - shining into the world.

Jesus dies

It was about twelve o clock when the sun stopped shining and darkness covered the whole country until three o clock.  And the curtain hanging in the Temple was torn in two.  Jesus cried in a loud voice, ‘Father, in your hands I place my spirit’.  He said this and died.

Punishment: This is it, then, Jesus. This is where you find out what is beyond death. Will it just be.... nothing? - a dark, cold, loveless, floating void? Or, will it be eternal suffering - what you’re enduring now, for ever? And that’s the path you’ve asked for, by taking responsibility for the evil of the world. For I, Punishment, was from the Beginning, and I will be Forever!

Grace: You have shown the world the Father: that he is pure grace - your task is finished! Now you can rest in my hands. And I will carry you over the threshold, to the wonderful new life that your Father has created for you. I will carry many others through this door, but you are the first. So go, you are safe in the grace and love of God.

Jesus taken down from the cross

And when evening came, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.  Joseph took the body down and wrapped it in a linen sheet
and laid it in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock.
Grace: At last, peace. Peace for the world, peace for all people. The demon that is Punishment has died. I, Grace, have thrown open the door to eternal life. For I was from the Beginning, and I will be Forever! Grace and peace to you.

Alphaeus adds (for 21st century readers):
The Scripture passages are taken from the Gospels of Mark and Luke.
With thanks to Simon Parke, for the inspiration of 'The Punitive universe and the Gracious universe'

Monday, 7 April 2014

Breaking News - reporters witness Easter story

a school sketch for Easter


A junior News crew from Ded-C TV is in Jerusalem.
There’s Breaking News, 'live' and exclusive, from Jack the reporter in Jerusalem
Sophie is in the studio.

Sophie: Now over to our reporter in Jerusalem. Jack, I hear there’s a lot of excitement.

Jack: Yes, Sophie, I’m standing at the gate of Jerusalem - and it’s all happening here today! Big crowds have gathered. There seems to be someone approaching the city, with loads of people following him.

Sophie: And what’s the atmosphere - excited, tense?

Jack: Oh, great excitement. The cheering’s getting louder as the man’s getting closer. It’s starting to get deafening - I can hardly hear myself! Can you hear me OK, Sophie?

Sophie: Yes, we can hear you, Jack. And who is this man, do you know?

Jack: I’ve been speaking to a number of people in the crowd and they say it’s someone called Jesus, from Nazareth. He’s a bit of a local celebrity, apparently. But hang on - things are happening right now - this is breaking news OK, live on Ded-C TV - where else! The man is climbing on something - and the something is moving - it’s a donkey, I think. Not very grand for a celebrity - you would expect at least a chariot! But apparently a prophet long ago said that one day a King would arrive on a donkey.

Sophie: A king, you say?! Does he have a crown?

Jack: No no, there’s no crown - he looks really ordinary - he hasn’t even dressed up for the occasion! But everyone’s started to sing - it’s all very happy here, Sophie! They’re singing a song about him being the King of Peace. Well it’s not very peaceful round here, I can tell you - quite a din!

Sophie: And what sort of people are in the crowd?

Jack: It’s a real family affair, Sophie. The happy crowd are starting to throw things on the road in front of him. The grown-ups are laying their coats on the road - like a sort of royal carpet. And children are climbing up the palm trees and pulling off branches (don’t do this at home, folks - your parents won’t be too pleased!), and throwing the palm branches on the road too.

Sophie: And what are the police doing?

Jack: I can see some religious police now. They look nervous - it is getting pretty chaotic… Yes, they’re now speaking to Jesus… looks like they’re asking him to send the crowds away. They look pretty angry with him. But Jesus is just carrying on. Everyone is having far too good a party!

Sophie: Well thanks, Jack. Our time’s out - we’ll have to stop there. But we’ll speak to you again as things develop in Jerusalem.

Jack: Thanks, Sophie. This is Jack, reporting from Jerusalem, exclusively for Ded-C TV News. 

A few days later, on a Friday morning
Sophie: Jack, what’s been happening these last few days in Jerusalem? Is there still a party atmosphere?

Jack: Sophie, it couldn’t be more different. It’s early Friday morning in Jerusalem now. The crowds that gathered the other day eventually melted away. And since then the religious police have cracked down hard.

Sophie: So where is the man from Nazareth?

Jack: I’ve been talking to the locals. Just last night, I understand, one of his own friends got some money from the police for setting him up so they could arrest him. And the police got this huge media campaign going in Jerusalem to turn everybody against Jesus. And now loads of people are baying for his blood.

Sophie: What are the Roman soldiers doing? They have the real power, in Jerusalem, don’t they? - and they can be brutal.

Jack: The police got the Roman soldiers involved. And now it looks like the Romans have sentenced Jesus to death. And talking to people, it doesn’t seem like he’s done anything wrong. We could have a major miscarriage of justice happening, live here in Jerusalem, Sophie.

Sophie: So how will he be killed?

Jack: The Romans know how to make people suffer, alright. We’re family viewing, Sophie, so I can’t describe what they will do to him. But they call it ‘crucifixion’, and it is the worst imaginable way to die. It’ll be today - they don’t hang around. It’s no party anymore - there’s a dark mood in Jerusalem now.

Sophie: Well thank you, Jack. We really appreciate you managing to be in the right place at the time and covering such a difficult story. We’ll get another report later.



That evening, Samuel, one of the TV camera men, records his own video diary

Samuel: I can film most stuff - I’m a pretty tough guy, you have to be if you want to be a TV camera man in the Roman Empire - but I had to switch off the camera today - I just couldn’t film it. I just sat there on the hill, watching. We all did. This man Jesus, on that wooden cross, he was obviously in incredible pain. Yet amazingly he also seemed to be at peace - with himself and with everyone else. As he hung there he was kind to people - like the man on the cross beside him, and a woman who must have been his mother. At one point I’m sure he even caught my eye, really kindly, as if to say ‘I’m doing this for you’. After a while it went all dark - weird, like an eclipse or something (I couldn’t have filmed then, anyway, I don’t have one of those clever night cameras). And you know what it felt like? - like all the darkness and evil in the world was being sucked into Jesus - that he was there to absorb it all. At that moment it felt like we were sitting at the centre of the universe, that this was the most important place ever, that this moment would change the world for all time. And there was me, a camera man, and I didn’t film it! But I don’t care, I was there…


Sunday morning, and Amelia, one of the sound-crew, has been up since early morning. She is excitedly telling Lucy, one of the other crew, what she’s seen that morning

Amelia: Lucy, Lucy! Something weird’s happened this morning! I couldn’t sleep last night - I was itching to get going after the Sabbath - it is SO dull not being able to do anything! So I got up early and went for a walk in Jerusalem. Hardly anyone one around - just the stray dogs and chickens pecking around in the dust. Then I heard these excited women running down the street. You know that man Jesus? you know, the one who the men watched getting killed on Friday? (those boys gawping at that poor man’s suffering - how could they!). Anyway, these women were babbling about having just seen him - I’m not kidding you! You would think they would be miserable - their best friend had died, and they’d gone to the tomb out of respect, I think. But no, they were, like, the happiest people I’ve ever seen! As they rushed past me one of them shouted to me ‘He’s alive!!’, as if telling me was really important - perhaps she recognised me as being one of the TV team and wanted the news spread. One of the others looked pretty chuffed that Jesus had chosen the girls to see first - the boys always think they’re the special ones! I was just gob-smacked - it didn’t make any sense, of course - it still doesn’t - but it also seemed so real! I sat down on this wall to think. As I was sitting there, at that moment one of those chickens laid an egg, right beside me. And I thought, wow, yes, a new life! From nowhere a new life appears - miracles are all around us! Lucy, it’s got me thinking - maybe this Jesus is alive again. We should get the boys onto this. Come on, let’s go and get them

Alphaeus adds (for 21st century readers):
For the authorised version of the story, see the Gospels