Emma had no way of knowing how her experiment in home taxidermy would work out until she tried. She’d read up about it in a correspondence course, changing her name to Eugene on the paperwork. No self-respecting school would teach a woman how to do such work, especially if they knew how she planned to use this knowledge.
She’d started simple – a dead raccoon she found near the edge of the field. A bird who’d gotten too close to a stray cat. It was unfortunate that the possum she’d spotted just down the road from the farm was too far gone, the turkey vultures having gotten first dibs. Sure, she still could have practiced on the mangy thing, but she wanted her artwork to look natural, or as natural as the deceased can look.
It took her two and a half years to work up the courage to try on a human. This had been her plan all along, but she had to be sure of her skill before she tried something so bold. Even men wouldn’t be so presumptuous as to step into that field of work without official license.
Emma knew too many folks in the village who went into debt over having to bury their dead. There was no good reason to spend a year’s income on someone who couldn’t appreciate it. New fancy clothes for someone who could never afford better than hand-me-downs his whole life? Nonsense. Silk lined coffin to sleep in, when cotton sheets were just fine all their life? Ludicrous.
And worst of all was all those chemicals pumped into their veins to keep them fresh for whenever Jesus got around to making a return visit. When he came, he’d better have a shovel, a jackhammer, and a pair of wire cutters to help them out after he woke them from their slumber. 6 feet down stuck in a concrete vault and a locked coffin was bad enough. Their mouth wired shut (to avoid any unpleasantness during the viewing) would make life difficult for the newly reanimated. Who wanted to come back from the dead like that?
Emma had another plan, a kinder, cheaper plan. Taxidermy. Dry out Grandpa Ross or Uncle Seymour so he doesn’t develop a case of the rot, and prop him up in a chair in the living room. Much cheaper, and he’d still be around to chat with. When the second coming happened he’d be just as ready as anyone else.
Jesus was filled with a deep anger when he heard this and approached the tomb. The tomb was in a cave and there was a large stone covering the entrance. Jesus asked them to roll the stone aside.
Martha said “He’s been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”
But Jesus said “Did I not say that you would see the glory of God if only you believe?”
So they rolled the stone away from the entrance to the tomb. Jesus raised his eyes and said “Father, thank you for listening to me. I know that you always listen to me, but I’ve said this now because of the crowd which is here, so they can believe that you sent me.” After saying this Jesus shouted, “Lazarus come out!”
Lazarus walked out of the tomb covered from head to toe with the linen cloths that he had been buried in. Jesus said “Remove the burial cloths and release him.”
“Truly, anyone who listens to my testimony and believes the One who sent me, that person will have eternal life and will not be judged. Such a person has moved from death into life. Truly, it is now the time when those who are dead will hear the voice of God’s Son, and will live because they hear his voice. The Father has granted the Son to have life in himself, in the same way that the Father has life. The Father has also granted the Son the power to pass judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Don’t let this amaze you, because soon all who are buried will come out of their graves when they hear his voice. Those who have been righteous will arise to the resurrection of life, and those who have been wicked will arise to the resurrection of judgment. I have no power of my own. I can only judge as God tells me, and my judgment is sound because I seek the will of the One who sent me and not my own.”
Mary saw a man in the garden not far from the tomb. She assumed he was the gardener. He was Jesus, but she did not recognize him. When he said “Mary”, she instantly knew who he was.
“Teacher!” She exclaimed, reaching for him. He cautioned her “Don’t hold on to me, because I haven’t yet gone up to my Father. But go and tell my brothers that I am ascending to our Father – mine and yours. I am leaving for Galilee, have them meet me there.”
The other women saw him as well, and they held his feet and worshipped him.
The women reported to the disciples on all that had happened and relayed the message from the angel and Jesus to travel to Galilee, yet they didn’t believe them. The disciples thought they were making up the story.
(MT 28:9-10, MK 16:9-11, LK 24:9-11, JN 20:14-18)
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, Joanna, and Salome went to the tomb while it was still dark on the first day of the week, after the Sabbath had ended. They brought the spices and perfumes they had prepared to anoint the body. They were wondering among themselves how they would roll back the stone that was covering the entrance to the tomb.
An angel of the Lord suddenly descended from heaven, causing the earth to shake. He rolled back the stone door and then sat upon it. He shone with a brilliant light and his robe was snow-white. The guards were paralyzed with fear when they saw him. The women bowed down to the ground, amazed and terrified.
The angel said to the women “Do not be afraid! I know that you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. Why are looking among the dead for the living? He is not here – he has been resurrected! Remember how he told you when he was in Galilee that the Son of Man would be betrayed into the hands of sinners, be crucified, and will rise on the third day?” Then they remembered that Jesus had said this.
The angel continued, “Come and see where they put him. Go quickly and tell his disciples that ‘He has been raised from the dead. He is going ahead to Galilee – you will see him there, just as he said.’ Make sure you tell them this.”
The women, trembling with amazement and alarm, ran from the tomb to tell the other disciples the news.
MT 28:1-8, MK 16:1-8, LK 24:1-8, (JN 20:1)