It's the little things. We know this is true. It's the little things that stick with us. A sound, a smell, an unexpected detail that lingers in our memory. Those are the things that make special memories vivid and keep them in our memories year after year. We know how it feels. Someone says to us, "It's just like it was yesterday. I can still ..." and then those little details are told and shared. We have experienced this. It is part of our history, the story of our lives, and at times it has made us who we are.
If we were sitting together I could ask you to think back on one of those memories and tell me one of the vivid details. For women it might be the smell of their mother's kitchen or the odor of the flowers on your wedding day. For a guy it might be the feel of the bat striking the ball, or the feel of the basketball as you let it go in that one shot at the end of a game. For me, I can still feel the descent, down from Frisco Pass on my bicycle at close to 60 mph, around the curves, tucking for more speed ... Yes, it is the little things.
As a Pastor I have walked through a cemetery and "heard" and "seen" the memories of those I have cared for. Years ago, toward the end of my time serving a congregation for 18 years, that walk was very slow and had a lot of pauses, remembering a joke, a smile, a story that I had heard dozens of times. It is the little things that fill our lives.
And so it was with the disciples. That first Easter was filled with the vivid memories. For Peter, "... the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself" -- was a vivid memory from when he and John ran to the tomb. (John 10:7) For the women, "And they came up and took hold of His feet ..." -- was a vivid memory from the way back from the tomb when Jesus met them. (Matthew 28:9) For the disciples " ... a piece of broiled fish ..." -- became a vivid memory from the upper room, when Jesus appeared to them but they had a hard time believing that He was really alive. And at some point someone told it to Luke, who wrote it down. (Luke 24:42) For seven of them " ... a charcoal fire in place, with fish on it, and bread" and "large fish, 153 of them" -- were vivid memories of a breakfast with Jesus when they went back to try some fishing again. (John 21:9, 11)
These are memories involve senses, feelings, and experiences they lived through. They include:
- seeing what was inside the tomb;
- the exertion of running;
- the feel of holding onto feet;
- the smell and taste of broiled fish;
- the sight, smell, and warmth of a charcoal fire; and
- counting a very large bunch of slippery fish.
These are vivid details that stuck deep in the minds of the different disciples. And they are the memories of the first Easter that did not fade with the years that passed. They fill out the story of Easter and they are the kind of texture that witnesses to the truth of the empty tomb and the living, glorious body of the risen Jesus, with a victory that is wonderfully true. And they are details that thrill the heart of the Christian, and lead us to say, "Christ is Risen; He is Risen Indeed!"
Lord Jesus, You show the truth of Easter through such wonderful details. You invite me to know You and lead me to hope for the day when I will see You, hear You, and reach out and touch You. Guide my spiritual life that I may have the times of worship, and the sweetness of the promises of Your word filling my life and days. Amen.