O, Lord, I hope all the gifts I ordered arrive on time. Um … exactly what did I order? But OMG, when You sent the greatest Gift of all, Your Son, You knew exactly what You’d given. You got Him in the right place at the right time — even without Amazon Prime.
O Lord, when I was a kid, gratitude didn’t come easy. Mom would prompt, “What do you say?” and I’d mutter the “Thank you” that got grown-ups off my back. In 2020, it doesn’t come easy, either. Still, OMG, thank You. Thank You. Thank You!
O Lord, Hubby and I just planted Scraggly the Lilac. Maybe his fellow shrubs voted him least likely to succeed? Next spring, though, we expect a resurrection. Father, some Mondays I feel like Scraggly. But OMG, thank You that Jesus’ Resurrection helps us blossom and share in His incredible fragrance!
O Lord, reading about Your feeding 5,000 people with a little bread and fish, I’m amazed by Your kindness. Your miracles. Yet, an ordinary mom or grandma probably baked those loaves. OMG, aren’t You glad she didn’t forget and let them rise way too long, unlike … um, some people You know?
(The following includes the remainder of a fictional interview by first-century writer Caleb. Based on historical Gospel accounts, it takes place soon after Jesus of Nazareth’s execution. As Caleb conducts the interview, using a small tape recorder, Mary Magdalene’s sister, Huldah, stirs a huge pot of stew and occasionally yells at her children.)
Huldah: As I said, Daniel and I weren’t crazy about Mary’s being a groupie, trailing after this rock-star rabbi, Jesus. It’s not like she wasn’t already nutty as a fruitcake. But the more Mary hung with Jesus, the better she got.
We were grateful, though I worried about her reputation when she traveled with Jesus.
Mary thought that was funny. “Huldah, I don’t have a reputation to lose!”
Caleb: How did you feel about Jesus’ enemies?
Huldah: What do you think? I worried. Worried our rabbi would kick Mary out of the synagogue. That she’d get us kicked out, and our business would go bankrupt.
Caleb: What about the Romans’ reaction to Jesus and his followers?
Huldah: Duh! You know they also crucify women, if they’re in the mood.
But when Mary visited weekends, I’d never seen her so … peaceful.
Still, she worried about Jesus. He didn’t do anything wrong. He did everything right! But that didn’t earn him any brownie points. We came here to Jerusalem for Passover, but instead of celebrating, the whole town waited, as if expecting fire to fall. When we heard they’d crucified Jesus, we were scared Mary would hang on a cross next to him.
Caleb: What happened to her?
Huldah: Thank God, the Romans hadn’t harmed her. When Jesus died, we begged Mary to hide outside Jerusalem. But she wanted to help bury him.
Caleb: She’s still okay?
Huldah: I—I don’t know. Mary swears up and down she not only saw but talked to Jesus.
Caleb: She thinks a man survived crucifixion?
Huldah: Yes, she’s crazy happy. Others who claim they saw him are crazy happy. Maybe they’re all loonier than she was in the first place!
Huldah: I know, I know. Roman soldiers are good at their job. I saw Jesus die. Mary saw his followers put the body into a tomb. Yet she won’t back down. She can’t wait to see Jesus again.
Caleb: Um, Huldah, I want to put a positive spin on this. But you need to get Mary some help.
Huldah: If only she’ll come home with us — there she is! Talk to her. Wait. Who is that Man walking behind her?
Caleb: It can’t be —
Huldah: (screaming) Mary’s right! Jesus is alive!
(Caleb’s recorder plopped into the stewpot, and normally, an interview would have been lost forever. But this one, Caleb noted later, he would never forget.)
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: If you could talk to someone who saw Jesus after His Resurrection, who would it be?
(The following fictional interview by first-century writer Caleb is based on historical Gospel accounts, taking place soon after Jesus of Nazareth’s execution. As Caleb adjusts a small tape recorder, Mary Magdalene’s sister, Huldah, stirs a huge pot of stew.)
Caleb: Huldah, thanks for agreeing to talk with me about Mary.
Huldah: Yeah, yeah. People are saying crazy stuff, so maybe I can clear up a few rumors.
Caleb: To keep things straight for readers, we’re discussing Mary Magdalene.
Huldah: There are a million Marys running around. Mom and Dad gave her the popular name, of course. Leave that alone! (She waves a big spoon at the curious kid sneaking behind Caleb, then apologizes.) Sorry. I didn’t mean you.
Caleb: Um … no problem. You’re her older sister?
Huldah: Yeah, been looking out for Mary since forever. She was always different … then she started hearing voices. Saw stuff that wasn’t there. Got really mean. Our parents passed her around to relatives like she was a bad cold. Before they died, they made me promise to take care of her.
Caleb: Mary met Jesus, called the Christ, didn’t she?
Huldah: Yeah. She’d wandered off, out of her head. I said, “Good riddance!” Maybe Daniel and I could enjoy some peace. But we had to look for her. She’d joined those groupies following Jesus, the rock-star rabbi.
I said to Daniel, “Just great. Sounds like he runs a medicine show.”
Caleb: Upon seeing you, how did Mary react?
Huldah: Mary doesn’t hug anybody — she slugs ’em. But this time, she hugged me. Then she laughed! I couldn’t remember the last time I heard her laugh.
Caleb: I saw Jesus, maybe twice. Did you?
Huldah: Yeah. For a rock star, he wasn’t real good-lookin’. There was nothing special about Jesus, until he talked — and healed a leper who used to live next door.
I told Daniel, “I’ll take his brand of crazy, anytime.” Turns out, the more Mary was around Jesus, the better she got.
Caleb: Has she regressed since then?
Huldah: Well … you be the judge of that, after you hear the whole story.
To be continued tomorrow, April 25.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you ever considered what happened the week after Easter? And don’t you just hate “to be continued” stories?