The Impossible Beautiful Truth

The four gospels give us different pictures of the readiness with which the followers of Jesus accepted the resurrection. Yesterday, hearing John's version, I was struck by how difficult it must have been for at least some of them to grasp what had occcurred. "They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him," says Mary Magdalene.

Of course that's what they would have thought. And although I don't recall any mention of it in scripture, it seems safe to assume that at least some of them made inquiries, trying to find out who might have taken the body, and why, and where.

In John's gospel Mary Magdalene does so, on the spot, saying to the figure whome she takes for a gardener, "Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away." John himself (on the usual assumption that he's referring to himself in the third person as "the disciple Jesus loved"), having outraced Peter to the tomb after Mary's first alarm, believes at once, perhaps having already understood what the others did not, "that he must rise from the dead." It isn't clear at that point what Peter thinks. 

For some of them it may have been like it would have been like for me: first wanting to know if the body was really not there (Are you sure you looked everywhere?). Then, having a definite answer to that question, perhaps having seen for myself, I would have started trying to figure out who had stolen it, and why, and what they had done with it. Only when those possibilities seemed to be eliminated would I have begun to entertain seriously the idea of resurrection. 

And then: wild hope, too wild to be credited at first, but emerging as the only explanation, finally embraced with overpowering elation, beyond doubt when the Lord himself appeared to them. Everyone knows the instruction from Sherlock Holmes:

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

But the resurrection spins that sensible pragmatic principle around: the impossible pushes its way in, elbows aside both the probable and the improbable, and stands there unique among all events in human history: impossible, true, and beautiful; promising everything, because since it is true anything might be, anything each of us has ever longed for and given up for lost.

 

Comments

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I was thinking this afternoon, "I wish Maclin would write one of what Louise calls his beautiful posts." This is one. Thank you.

AMDG

Lent was not really over for me until Maclin posted!

Well, thank goodness he did.

AMDG

Thank you. This is really good to hear. I was so busy and distracted all during Holy Week right up through Sunday that I was beginning to wonder if I had it any me to write anything but political snark, which seems inappropriate.

I'd say Lent isn't really over till Grumpy reappears, so we're both happy.

Well, I was thinking about it in relationship with your professed desire to post caustic comments and wishing you would do something like this instead.

AMDG

Beautiful.

Nothing is impossible for God.

So glad Lent is over now. Phew!

Quite Louise!

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