Acts 10:34a, 37-43
Col 3:1-4 or I Cor 5:6b-8
Who was that Man?
The day before Easter a friend and I were taking our dogs to be groomed. In many ways it had been a wonderfully normal Saturday. The dogs had been taken to the dog park where they ran and let go of some of their pent up energy, I had made time for prayer and the day was showing some incredible Southwest signs of spring; all in all a great day so far!
As we headed to the groomers we came upon a black van parked in the middle of the intersection. It was obvious from all the folks standing around that some kind of accident had happened. There didn’t seem to be another car, so it seemed strange to have the van parked in the middle with people waving their arms. As I drove pass the van I saw a man lying on the street with his arms straight out from his sides. There was a huge pool of blood under his head and he appeared to be dead. I saw a woman taking his pulse and her face appeared stressed.
My friend and I immediately began to pray out loud several Hail Marys and Our Fathers. Following our praying we were both very quiet. Throughout the day my mind wandered back to the man lying in the street. I was especially caught by his arms being out like Christ’s arms on the cross. Then I would think about the pool of blood under his head.
As my mind relived these images into Easter Sunday I was struck with the thrill and fear that entered Mary Magdeline’s thoughts when she saw that Christ was not in the tomb and the feelings that must have been with this man’s friends and family on Easter morning. I also became more aware of how distant I was to the physical realities that we celebrate and remember during the Tridium.
I became aware of how I had sanitized the scourging of Christ and his death. Of course there had to be blood and discomfort, but I had the image in my mind rather than experiencing it through my heart and imagination.
I bring this up because my Easter Sunday experience was changed because of this man’s tragedy. His name and his story are secluded to this tiny window where I saw him lying in the street. I have checked the paper for any report of an accident on this road, but I have seen none.
Our corner of the city is a little rougher and known for being an area where “trouble happens.” Perhaps this didn’t qualify as “news worthy.” Maybe if it had happened to a “famous person.” Quite honestly, I don’t know why I couldn’t get more information. Maybe it wasn’t a story they wanted to have in the Easter Sunday newspaper.
Back to Jesus Christ and the celebration of His resurrection…I wonder what the word was out on the street about his death on the previous Friday? Who knew and moreover who cared? I wonder how long it took for the word to get out that his disciples, both a woman and man, found the tomb empty except for his linen clothes left behind?
At what point did the story of the Risen Lord begin to change the lives of those, like myself, who had allowed their religious and spiritual sensibilities to be sanitized? Who and how might we be changed during this Easter Season by the lives of both those known and unknown to us?