(Author’s note: This is the conclusion of my Easter message “Surprise in a Graveyard” at FUMC Winnfield April 1, 2018. I have the source for this story listed as Rosemary Kadrmas in Jeff Cavins, et.al, Amazing Grace for the Catholic Heart (West Chester, PA: Ascension Press, LLC, 2003), pp. 211-212.)
A woman named Rosemary works in the Alzheimer’s Unit of a nursing home. Rosemary and a colleague named Arlene brought the residents of the home together one Good Friday afternoon to view a movie called Jesus of Nazareth. They wondered whether these elderly Alzheimer’s patients would even know what was going on, but they thought it might be worth the effort.
When they finally succeeded in getting everyone into position, they started the video. Rosemary was pleasantly surprised at the quiet attention being paid to the screen. At last came the scene where Mary Magdalene comes upon the empty tomb and sees Jesus’ body is not there. The risen Christ comes and asks Mary why she is looking for the living among the dead. Mary runs as fast as she can back to the disciples and tells Peter and the rest with breathless excitement, “He’s alive! I saw Him, I tell you! He’s alive.” The doubt in their eyes causes Mary to pull back. “You don’t believe me . . . You don’t believe me!”
From somewhere in the crowd of Alzheimer’s patients came the clear, resolute voice of Esther, one of the patients. “WE BELIEVE YOU,” she said, “WE BELIEVE YOU!”
Well, Esther, I believe it too. I believe because we have many credible witnesses to Jesus’s resurrection, it has changed the lives of many including you and me, and it explains why there is so much suffering in our world. The evidence is overwhelming, and life makes no sense without it. Jesus Christ is alive and rose from the dead. Hallelujah! Amen!