While it was still dark, two women met at the coffee pot.
“I believe!” said one.
“Have you lost your mind, Honey? Go back to bed.”
But I hadn’t lost my mind. I was groping, like the women so long ago, to express my joy at the unexpected. I’ve lived on the intellectual end of the theological spectrum, that place where we don’t believe a lot of the things we were taught as children, where we don’t take things literally, where we wonder, as I did on my first Holy Saturday as a preacher, what we believe about the bodily resurrection.
The choices I made in my personal life only added to the confusion, the rationalizing, the justifications. I believed something, but I didn’t want to be pushed too hard on it. After all, did it really matter? This man who was God — well, at times, I may have hedged on that, too. This man, this Jesus, had such an impact on human history. Something magnificent happened. God loves us. Alleluia! Etc.
But I woke this morning, while it was still dark, and in the darkness I read the words of another UCC pastor, backing away from the tomb much as I tried to do, and not to do, in the past, speaking to the doubts people may rightly have, and as I read, I thought, “No. I believe it. I believe it.”
The forces of darkness — whether human or supernatural — had no power to hold Him.
Instead of using his mighty powers to flee to the Third Heaven around 11:45 on Friday morning, he died. They buried him. And on Sunday morning the tomb was empty.
It may have sounded strange at the coffee maker, while it was still dark, somewhere between the first pot and the second. It certainly sounded strange on that long ago morning.
But I believe it. Christ is Risen!
Now the forces of darkness have no power to hold me. You either. I believe it. And I thank God for it.