Holy Week 2012

Easter Evening

He had walked the familiar places in and out of time. He had seen them running. He had seen the disbelief but what struck him was not their inability to grasp what had happened - that was understandable enough - but their weakness. Not the simple weakness of the bewildered who cannot bring themselves to act but their  utter weakness without him. It was their kind of love. It was their kind of tribute. It was the best they could do. And he knew, as he had always known, that in spite of the hesitation and the broken words and the broken promises, they really loved him. And he was so sorry for them. But he must be true to the Father and show himself to them as utterly the same and yet utterly transformed.

He walked across the field where poor Judas had been hurriedly buried. Poor Judas. But he, like both the thieves, were safe with his Father.

Cleophas and his wife, half dazed, made their sad farewells. They wanted to stay but there was work to be done in the garden if it was to sustain them through the year. They walked together in the silence of deep love and deep sorrow each wishing they could carry more of the load of the other.

"Such a dream shattered," she said. "Such a promise," he said, "not broken, but wrested from us."

He could not bear it. "Father," he said, almost out of habit, as if he was still in his former state. And not needing a reply he moved from timelessness into time and took their road.

They were far too kind to ignore a stranger even though they would have preferred to take refuge in their own woundedness. "Peace be with you," he said; and when they looked up, surprised, bravely trying to hide their brokenness, he could not help himself. "Why so sad? Be of good cheer." But they could manage nothing more than a brave, broken smile.

They told him their story and when they had finished, as the sun began to set, he told them his, from the Garden  of Eden to the Garden of Gethsemane and the garden where the tomb lay empty. They wanted to believe. They so wanted to believe. But, as he knew, it was a thing too wonderful.

Even through their grief a tremor of consolation passed through them as their house came into view. They would have preferred to be alone, to try to lose their sorrow in  each other's arms; but they were so good, so generous, that hospitality overcame their private feelings.

He slipped outside while they made their preparations and stole a  kiss. When they called him he sat at the table and, as the guest, he took the bread and blessed it, and broke it, and gave it to them, and slipped out of time as his body in the bread now with them, was out of time; and they understood; and the news of the Father's love for him and his love for them began to break all over the world.