All week, I've been pondering the question, "What did people do on that first Easter Sunday, after they found the tomb empty?" When I did a survey of my Fort Wayne friends, the general consensus was, "They were 'freaking out' in hiding." Which is quite probable, I'm sure. But what did that look like? Did they nervously rock back and forth in a corner, or did they work on a jigsaw puzzle to try to get their minds off their troubles? Did they escape to coloring books and 25 shades of Crayola blue? Did they eat or fast? Did they talk or cry or sing or sleep? They were together, right? So did they lean on each other or avoid eye contact?
This morning Kelsey and I went to a small church that reminded us both of our home churches. And do you know how they celebrated Easter? They had a baptism service in which about ten people shared their testimonies, declared their faith and commitment to Christ, and were dunked in chilly water. And it hit me that that could have been how some people spent that first Easter Sunday.
One person I am thinking of is Mary Magdalene. She saw the empty tomb, she heard the angels' news, she turned around and saw - saw - Jesus. She knew... she couldn't doubt it. So she may have "freaked out" and hid, but not out of fear and doubt. I bet she was bursting with joy and had a hard time containing it.
The pastor this morning told us to "use our sanctified imaginations." So I did. I imagine that Mary got all her girl friends together - the ones who had all those perfumes that they were going to use on Jesus - and they cooked and ate delicious food, for the first time in three days. And they sat around the table telling stories - stories about how they met Jesus and incredible moments they had with Him, when he taught them something powerful or when they saw him do something amazing or when they just felt peace and joy in his presence as they rested together after an exciting day of ministry. I'll bet the stories and memories just bubbled over - not like they do at a funeral, but more like at a family reunion.
So to celebrate Easter, Kelsey and I did that today. After the service, we went out for a nice lunch together and savored some of our favorite foods, then we can home and had a painting party with the theme "Sanctified Imagination." All the while we told stories about our own encounters with Jesus - the ways he has spoken to us and worked in our lives. "Testimony" has become a very complex and meaningful word for me, because I see God building his testimony of faithfulness and hope in my life more and more as I walk with him. It's a beautifully woven story, and it's exciting when I get to share parts of it sometimes, like today with Kelsey or the other day with Shannon or last week with Kathryn... because then they share parts of their story with me, and we both see the awesomeness of God more clearly and understand the community we have as a fellowship of believers in Christ more fully, and God receives all the glory.
What's your story? What are your encounters with Christ? How has he healed you and changed you? Share it with someone today. It is because He is ALIVE that you have that story to tell!