"He's dead."

We're leading worship here on Easter. With the message that we can't just trust God to make things turn out well in the end; we have to listen and trust and follow his lead the whole way. At the beginning, in the dark and confusing middle, all the way until God shows us what the end will be.

Heather had a great idea for a dramatic reading and just finished it, focusing on what the disciples were going through right before Easter. I think I'll share it here, in three parts. The first is Mary Magdalene:

My eye is pressed to the crack in the shutters, looking for light. The doors and the windows are locked and barred. What are they so afraid of?

The sky is growing gray in the east, I think it is, I know it is; soon it will be light enough to go. Shabbat is over now, that terrible Shabbat. Sitting in the dark, not moving, not speaking; the shuffle of someone's foot in the darkness, then silence again. Nothing we could bear to say. I sat with the other women around the spices and the smell of the myrrh made me dizzy, and the shadows would shift and float, and I would come to myself again and again. Almost before I had time to think it's not real—it's a nightmare, I was jolted by the knowledge that it's not. It's true. It happened. I was there.

He's dead.

He's dead and the world is not what I thought it was. He's dead, and it wasn't true. Oh, oh I know nightmares if anybody does, they walked beside me in the living day, in the time of my demons... I saw water turn to blood under my hands, I believed my touch would kill children; I ran from them. There were voices, they were with me when I lay down and when I got up—whispering God hates you... Until he came.

He told me they were lies. He said to trust him. He asked me if I wanted them gone. They were flailing and screaming but I shouted over their voices, I shouted yes with all my strength—and he whipped them. Oh, if those men could have seen him then, those soldiers, those priests, if they could have seen the power in his hand, the light. His eyes were like the sun—terrible as an army with banners... And they really thought they could kill—Him?

And they did. They did.

There is no doubt. I watched him die. I watched his body broken on the tree. His breaths grew shorter; farther apart; desperate, fast, inhuman gasps, with silence in between. One last one, and then—no more. There is no doubt.

He's dead. And the world is empty now. And everything he said—

I'm like them now—I never thought I'd be like them. Like my uncle Matthew and the others, when Judas the Galilean was killed and his army scattered, and they came home exhausted and with bitter eyes. They thought Judas was the Messiah. And they were wrong. You believe in a man, you put all your faith in him, the very life in your body is his—who's to say he didn't shine in their eyes, as my Lord shone when he drove my demons away, who's to say he didn't pull them out of the depths and back into life? You believe in a man, you believe. And then they kill him. And you have to face the truth.

You were wrong.


No! I was wrong then? Then what was he? Tell me that, what was he? Was he a liar? Him? He was truth itself and no one knows it as I do. Was he a fool? Proud, hopeful, overreaching—weak? Is that what demons of hell screamed and ran from? No. He was the one, he was everything, he was the very son of God and they killed him. And now the world is dark and empty but I'll tell you one thing—I don't care if he's dead, I'm his—they can kill me too if they want but I'm his.

And I will always be.

That's the sun. I can go now. I can go to him.