Features, Highlights

The angels at the tomb

HE FOUND the place easily enough. Well, so much of the Master’s recent work had been focused on this nondescript Palestinian town that all the others had been talking about it and gave him detailed directions.

He himself hadn’t been asked to do anything specific, until now. Rather, his own work had been on another side of this globe, with another people who were also looking for the True and Living God. He had enjoyed working with them; but then the Master called and said that he was given this special task. He smiled to himself, all tasks were special if the Master asked us to do it, and if we did it for Him, he thought.

Finding the specific tomb was also easy enough. He wondered why the Romans bothered to put up guards; this was one of the ways of these people he failed to understand.

Sometimes it was so pathetically futile … but the Master was quite clear about letting them do what He had given them the free will to do. Like this young apprentice that he had to bring with him, he thought, looking at the young angel with a mix of exasperation and indulgence. Bright and scrubbed and shiny.

The young one wanted to make a big show in front of the soldiers, though in his own experience he knew that their presence alone would send those soldiers away shrieking. Or drop down as if dead. They didn’t need to resort to theatrics. Sure enough, the soldiers were down and out before you could even say “hello”.

The two of them quickly and easily rolled the stone away. They had to do this because it was necessary, and those who were coming needed to see it for themselves. They knew their Master would not be there, He had gone to other worlds after His death.

As he looked at his young colleague, he wondered whether the young one knew the true significance of their action. Of their role this crisp, early morning. Of what this morning really meant. It looked like he did, the way he was sitting on the stone, happily swinging his legs, peering through the dim light and waiting for the women to come.

He decided to let the young one do it though he himself liked to speak with humans. They usually had little to say to him, but he loved rolling their words around, and speaking in a way that they could understand. He withdrew a little way, so that the women wouldn’t notice him and be too afraid. They had enough to cope with right now, and the message they would hear would take a while to understand.

He heard them coming, and, as he leaned against the cave, he sensed, rather than saw the presence of his resurrected Master. The Master was going to let them do their task before revealing Himself, he guessed. He then caught his Master’s eye and there was a twinkle and a nod.

He could see that the young one was enjoying himself speaking to the women. He showed a compassion and consideration for them in their fragile state, and yet spoke his message with clarity and conviction.

“He is not here, He is risen just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay, then go quickly and tell His disciples, ‘He is risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.’”

The women were afraid and bewildered, but they saw the empty tomb and seemed to believe. However, they were truly convinced only when they saw the Master as He revealed himself to them in His new form. These women were special, he thought, the Master was right to entrust them with the message.

As they left, their task completed, the young one still had that bright, shiny look about him. “You look pleased,” he said. “Of course,” the young one replied. “Isn’t this the best thing that has happened? I mean, this is more than just our Master’s resurrection, isn’t it? It’s a whole new … dimension of life and our Master’s plan and purpose, not just for them but … for all time and all people, isn’t it?” In his enthusiasm he didn’t wait for a response. “It’s their resurrection as well, though they don’t know it just yet. Isn’t this the best thing that has happened?” he exclaimed again with a laugh of pure joy.

“These humans don’t know that their whole world will now be of a different dimension and new realities will set in, new values, and a whole new way of life.” He said the last phrase with emphasis. Then he looked up as if with a new thought. “But they will know soon, won’t they?”

He looked at the young one and they both laughed aloud with the knowledge that the Master’s will was perfect and it was done, even through these little people. And with that assurance, they quickly made their way home.

Kwa Kiem Kiok, a member of Trinity Methodist Church, is on sabbatical at Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky, the United States.