by Melinda Pillsbury-Foster
Easter this year falls on the day after April 19th, the anniversary of the Shot Heard Round the World. To this day no one knows who fired the shot which marks the beginning of the American Revolution, 229 years ago. Many Americans remember its significance.
Both events changed the world. The power of their messages still live, but in different degrees, conveyed in different ways.
Easter Week began on Palm Sunday with the triumph entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. It ends with his resurrection, discovered by Mary alone or Mary and another woman, on Sunday morning, after finding his tomb emptied, the burial wrappings discarded.
What happened between the arrest of Jesus and the resurrection speaks of a powerful experience which converted fear and doubt to life long certainty. The example of Peter, who three times denied Jesus, is only one of these.
We see this in the actions of the disciples and others who experienced it. Before they said they believed, but doubted even after seeing miracles. Afterward, their belief was alive in them, long before a word was written. Jesus told his followers he was the Word.
As a Rabbi and a Jew, Christ understood the significance of the written word to Jews. A boy became a man by studying the written word and reading this out in the temple, as true then as it is today.
The first four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each tell variations on the story. None were written until 70 years afterward. Experts say the disciples wrote these themselves.
The Gospel of Mary, only a fragment remaining, begins with the resurrected Jesus speaking to his disciples, teaching. This text was excluded from the Bible by the Nicean Council in 325 AD.
After the resurrection Christ's teaching continued until he left them. They continued his work.
Where there had been uncertainty and doubt, none was left. Nearly all the apostles died martyred, though they could have avoided this. Instead, they welcomed it.
The power of the message came from a source beyond the written word.
The American Revolution was a coming together for human purposes, remembered in human ways.
The Word of Christ comes to change us, for his purposes.
This is a power which has continued to speak for two thousand years in people of every race and nation, who live his words. “Love one another as I have loved you.”