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When the horrific ordeal was over,

and the crowd had thinned,

a devoted friend asked the Roman governor for the body,

now lifeless,

to give it a fitting burial.

Request granted, the man and another friend carefully wrapped the congealed mass

of bone and blood, flesh and muscle,

with clean strips of linen cloth, tucked with essential spices…

and when the work was complete,

they carried the Savior to a tomb, newly carved.

But the newness of hewn rock,

and the cleanliness of linen cloth

could only hide for a brief time

the stark reality of death.

Within a few days decay would show itself,

inevitably filling the small space with its stench,

as the absence of breath Divine leaves all wasting away into nothing.

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The One crucified was loved by many

and hated by more…

heartbreak, confusion,

terror, rejection, fear,

plagued those who believed Him,

yet His demise, this death, was so unexpected, so undeserved—

He had done nothing wrong…

and all He had done was wrapped in rightness,

such radiating goodness rarely known,

the very goodness of God embodied

in this Man, Who was so unlike any other man.

Yet, His enemies triumphed

even as their hearts condemned their own self-righteous deeds—

yes, they would own them,

Let His blood be on our hands, they announced,

smugness obscuring hypocrisy and guilt.

Though they hardly felt like victors,

as in the days to follow, their memories burned

with inescapable images—

darkness at mid-day,

the earthquake,

the veil, hanging in the Hebrew temple,

two inches thick, split lengthwise,

mysteriously, impossibly, torn in two…

and the unforgettable look in His eyes,

the commanding presence of His voice

even while hanging at death’s door,

silent except for those few phrases—

almost like a lamb going to the slaughter.

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Yet, after the darkest three days in history,

very early on that Sunday morning,

the most incredible spring cleaning job

had taken place—

not only was Jesus not in the tomb,

He was no longer dead!

There in the garden angels hung around, waiting

to greet the first mourners…

and what did the women find,

but the huge boulder had been rolled aside and the burial tomb, empty!

Completely gone was any hint of death.

Instead, the very prospect of life resurrected surrounded them—

no decay, no stench,

no reason for grieving.

As you and I celebrate Easter,

this year, every year,

be reminded of God’s method of spring cleaning

in the lives of all who call on Him,

on all who allow themselves to be changed by Him.

(Portions of these two posts are used, courtesy of the Merced Sun-Star from a March 2008 column.)

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