Readers: This column attempts a creative interpretation of Easter as if it happened today. I found the inspiration in a YouTube video I’ve posted on my website.
Editors everywhere are getting the same electrifying text message: “He’s gone!”
Disheveled and breathless reporters from the “most trusted source in news” seem unable to believe their own words.
They’re interrupting regularly scheduled programming to report:
“Something unprecedented has happened! Jesus, the insurrectionist that civil authorities executed days ago, has disappeared from his tomb.”
Pundits at the “fair and balanced” network are repeating the same message while the red ticker screams, “Unexplained disappearance causing mass confusion.”
Drivers are distracted by the flashing messages on roadway signs – “The ‘Son of God’ is missing!”
Truth Social is telling its 2 million followers, “Good riddance, Jesus. We don’t need another god.”
The Twitterverse is aflame with bots and trolls who question the nationality of Jesus’ birth certificate. “SON, of GOD? WHAT!!?? “Can ANYTHING good come out of Nazareth?”
Facebook is overflowing with what some experts claim to be “deepfakes,” a kind of photoshopping using artificial intelligence.
Photos depict Jesus enjoying a lakeside fish fry with Peter and the rest of his beleaguered crew. (Weeks later, Facebook followers began to share and repost fuzzy photos of Jesus being “beamed up” into a cloud.)
“Where have they taken my Lord?” the mortified Mary asks an exhausted rookie reporter who is covering the mysterious displacement of a huge cemetery stone.
A few days later, at a press conference, Mary Magdalene answers her own question with radiant assurance. “I’ve seen the Teacher!” she announces. “He’s alive! He’s alive!”
Cynical reporters ask one another, “What has emboldened this former prostitute?”
As one New York op-ed puts it, “Mary’s survival had once depended upon her discretion. Now her dramatic statement seems to say, ‘I have no secrets! Only joy to tell.’”
Not everyone believes it at first.
A correspondent from Maxy News interviews a follower who’d only give his name as “Thomas, the Twin.” Unafraid to express his doubts, the man says, “I won’t believe it until Jesus makes an in-person appearance in the TV studio.”
“Gotta be fake news,” he adds. “The media only reports what the gullible want to hear.”
The reporter breaks away from the interview, saying, “This just in – An unnamed clerk from the Office of the Chief Priest has confirmed – “Jesus’ body was stolen by his followers to perpetuate the hoax!”
Public television assembles an expert panel to discuss the events.
The first panelist is a media expert who begins by saying, “We know that Jesus’ followers are pumping out the press releases claiming Jesus has risen from the dead.”
The next panelist, a thanatologist (grief expert) observes, “The preposterous claims his followers are making are a natural grief response.”
And making his first national appearance, syndicated columnist Norris Burkes, not wanting to be disagreeable, adds a profound, “Maybe.”
The last panelist, a bespectacled university professor, criticizes the reports as “… terribly biased. Jesus’ students are only spreading the hearsay of a hysterical woman.
“After all,” he concludes, “Dr. Luke, their team physician, recalls one version of events while Mathew the tax collector and Mark the fisherman take totally different approaches.”
In the weeks that follow, some dogged investigative reporting reveals the chief priests had lied. They had instructed the tomb guards to circulate the fake news that the disciples stole Jesus’ body under the darkness of night.
As reporters wear out the word “unprecedented,” Jesus’ followers produce a whole new vocabulary of adjectives, like miraculous, extraordinary and fantastic, but the majority of reporters remain skeptical
However a solid minority, including the chaplain, now confirm the story.
They, along with Doubting Thomas, say they saw Jesus and could only conclude with Thomas, “My Lord and my God!”
Chaplain Norris Burkes began his chaplain career with both the active-duty Air Force and the Air National Guard until his retirement in 2014. He later served as a board-certified healthcare chaplain at Sutter Memorial, Kaiser, Methodist and Mather VA hospitals and continues to work with area Hospice. His column is syndicated to more than 35 accredited news outlets in multiple states, with www.folsomtimes.com being one of his newest additions.Read past columns at www.thechaplain.net..
*Views expressed in published guest commentaries are those of the author or submitting organization and do not necessarily represent those of Folsom Times or All Town Media, LLC.