16 April 2017
Greetings Dear Reader,
On this morning of triumph I offer another set of moments from Chronicles of Thanatos the Reaper. We see the Resurrection. We should ponder the moments.
Thanatos stands a silent vigil over the tomb of the Son. The cold Jerusalem night takes its toll on the soldiers guarding the tomb. Unaware of the Death Angel’s presence, they mock the Son and his followers. The impetus for their mockery is their dissatisfaction at drawing guard duty over a corpse. As one, they express their loathing for the Jews and their religious fanaticism. Longinus, alone, remains silent. He has seen too much this week to doubt what is to come.
At the crucifixion, Patrius, his first lieutenant, gambled for the carpenter’s cloak and won. He wraps the homespun around his armor to shield him from the chill of the night wind. He also hopes that the zealous followers of the dead carpenter will try to steal his body. At least that would break the boredom of cemetery guard duty. Patrius begins to angrily pace in front of the sealed stone with growing impatience.
Thanatos realizes that it is almost first light. He gently glides down from his perch atop the tomb, coming to rest on a spot before the heavily waxed Roman seal. Had Thanatos chosen to land just a few feet further away from the entrance to the tomb, Patrius would be pacing through him. The Angel of Death waits in front of the tomb. The time has almost come, but time is moving arthritically at the moment. Waiting for time to pass can be quite burdensome for a being that is seldom concerned with its constraints. Thanatos turns to regard the men who share his watch. The pacing one, the one who thrust a spear in the Son, is irritating the Angel of Death.
Walking next to an angel does not go unnoticed by our spirit. We sometimes choose to ignore our spirit’s call to our own detriment. Patrius feels a chill run up and down his left side. This last chill is too much for him to bear.
He explodes in anger and outrage. “Curse these Jews and their carpenter-gods,” growls the centurion. “Imagine, Romans guarding the tomb of a dead man from Nazareth. If the priests want him protected so much, why do they not post their own guard?”
Longinus considers the tomb and the rumors he has heard. He cautions his friend. “You may not know everything, Patrius. We have seen much of the world, but we have not seen everything. You saw the way the world seemed to react to this man’s death. Be careful what you say.”
Patrius retorts angrily, “Let anyone but you tell me to be careful what I say about these stinking Jews and their solitary god and I will guard their tomb as well. Tell me this, if he were alive in there, who would move the stone for him? It took eight of us to place it and seal it. I saw the beating he took. I put my own spear into his side. This stone will not be moved by him, and I will gladly put my sword into anyone who tries from the outside.”
The time has come. Thanatos takes on a mischievous grin. Stepping into the world of men, he brings himself, in all his angelic brilliance, face to face with the centurion, Patrius.
“Feel free to run me through. Try to spit me on your spear as you did the Son,” growls the Death Angel. While he speaks, the boulder in the cave mouth begins to vibrate and roll to the side. The proud Roman seal crumbles under the stone’s vibrations. Patrius’ eyes widen in shock and terror. He and the rest of the Roman guard respond to the unrestrained fury of the Angel of Death as one man. They faint dead away.
Thanatos does not give them a second thought. Instead, he turns and moves into the tomb. Forgetting himself, he runs to the Son who is just getting up from the stone slab where he had been laid to rest. Just as morning breaks over the tomb, the Angel of Death wraps himself around the Son of God in an embrace bursting with the joy of life. Only God can hug one of his beloved children so deeply and so well. The Son drinks in the welcome and admiration. Thanatos has stuck with him through the entire ordeal. Others would soon return to him, but Thanatos had stayed.
Reluctantly breaking the embrace, the Son regards Thanatos. “I have much to do before I see the others. Stay here and comfort any that come looking for me. They will need it. Their faith is weak.”
Without anther word the Son departs. The Death Angel resumes his vigil with joy. Guarding an empty tomb is joyous when you are directed to do so by its living, former inhabitant. His watch is soon rewarded. He hears the familiar voices of the Son’s disciples approaching. He overhears their concern at the moved stone. As he expects, Mary Magdalene is the first to enter. Salome and Mary, the mother of James, follow closely.
Thanatos takes on the appearance of a young man in white robes. Mary Magdalene gasps when she sees him. Instantly weeping over the assumed and imagined loss, she drops the spices she had brought to anoint the Son’s body.
Barely controlling her fear she asks the only question in her heart, “Where have they taken my Lord?”
Thanatos takes a gentle step toward her and answers, “Why do you search for the living among the dead? Do you remember that the Son told you about this? He said that he must suffer and die, but that he would rise again. He is risen just like he promised.”
So instant is their belief in his words that they rush out of the tomb to tell the apostles. Thanatos regards the cave one last time before departing. The empty, winding sheet, so like his own mantle, now resembles an abandoned cocoon. This cold, dark chrysalis had held the lifeless body of his own true King. From that lifelessness, he has witnessed the birth of endless life for any who would follow his example and embrace the risen Son.
Dear Reader, He is risen indeed.
Wishing you joy in the journey,
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
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