April Fools Easter: April 1, 2018 In dark Gethsemane I was betrayed By Judas’ kiss. I was arrested, tried, Found guilty, beaten, thorn-crowned, mocked, and flayed. Then nailed to the cross on which I died. My lifeless, piercéd body was deposed And quickly laid within a borrowed tomb; Enshrouded, then by sealed stone enclosed, And left to rot in Sheol’s fetid gloom. You thought me dead, and you were not mistaken. You grieved, and wondered how to eulogize A failed Christ—beloved yet forsaken— Who breathed his last before your very eyes. ___Who but a fool would mourn the dead and then ___Expect him in three days to rise again! The Skeptic: An Easter Sonnet Trilogy Part 1: Easter Morning The Sabbath day had come and gone. The rain Had stopped and I was busy on my way To work. The rising sun dispersed the gray Of night in which Jerusalem had lain. The traffic on the Joppa Road was light And, on my left, close by the Gennath Gate, I glimpsed a cross on Golgotha. So straight It stood; a symbol of death’s power and might. Some women, breathless, hurried by and said, “He’s risen! Christ is risen from the dead!” The one they crucified these three days past? These trembling women surely were deceived. The dead stay dead! So I, for one believed. Such idle words of women could not last. Part 2: The Sunday after Easter My old friend Thomas tells the strangest tale; That Jesus lives, who died a criminal. He says he’s seen him, nail holes and all. How odd this seems; like Jonah and the whale! This crazy news has cut me to the core. For what I heard those women say was true. If doubting Tom believes then I must, too. For he has never told me false before. My God! I wonder where this all will lead? For if, in fact, the dead do not stay dead, Then life has meaning far beyond the grave. Perhaps God’s gift of life and love will be Extended, by his Grace, also to me. Perhaps this risen Christ has power to save! Part 3: Several Weeks Later I saw him! Yesterday I went with Tom. He said there was something he had to share. There were at least five hundred of us there Including Jesus’ brothers and his Mom. I had to take off work to go along. We had a picnic lunch, I ate my fill. And as we sat and waited on the hill The risen Christ appeared amidst the throng. I touched him and he looked me in the eye. He asked me if for love of him I’d die? And I replied, for him my life I’d give. He smiled and laid his hands upon my head. “Take up your cross and follow me,” he said. “For if you lose your life for me, you’ll live! James A. Tweedie is a recently retired pastor living in Long Beach, Washington. He likes to walk on the beach with his wife. He has written and self-published four novels and a collection of short stories. He has several hundred unpublished poems tucked away in drawers.