Mark 16:5-7

As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ”

– (NIV)

A few thoughts on Easter from Martha

cross on mountain

Good morning, dear friends,

As the sun rose this morning while I was hiding Easter eggs in the yard for my – yes, teen-agers –  I recalled the Easter Sunday when I was twenty and I made a choice between writing a philosophy paper or spending the first gorgeous day of Spring at a brunch and an Easter egg hunt with my friends in my last year of college.  I don’t remember what grade I received for that philosophy paper, but still regret walking down that green Berkshire hill and leaving my friends behind that beautiful morning.

I remember another Easter brunch about twenty years ago.  I was sitting outside beside a lake with a new friend. He looked out at the families arriving at the restaurant after church and said “I’m a Christian, too, you know.  I think Jesus was amazing.”

I looked up.  Was?  Jesus was, or is?

He shrugged.  “Well, I mean, I don’t buy all that resurrection stuff, of course.  That just had to be a lot of propaganda the disciples made up to keep the faith going in the early years.” I smiled and put down my hot cross bun and said quietly, “So, you don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead.”  He laughed and said “Well, come on.  Nobody is dead and buried and then rises from the dead.”   That, I told him, was the point.  Nobody ever had before.  Nobody has since.  But if one Someone did, then that’s the guy I want to know.  “Well,” he said.  “I’m just not a person of faith, I guess.”  “Oh, but you are,” I said. “You have great faith.  You’re putting all your faith in the belief that Jesus died on the cross and never lived again.  You’re betting that a bunch of his friends decided to create a lovely fairy tale and chose to be tortured and crucified or stoned or executed in some other horrible way just to keep that fairy-tale going rather than back off and say, “hey, okay, I wasn’t there. I didn’t see Him.  It was just a bunch of propaganda.”   You’re counting on the possibility that a successful, educated guy like Saul gave it all up to become Paul, a prisoner of Rome, just to perpetuate the myth of his face-to-face meeting with the dead man he reviled.  You’re rejecting the chance that the Unseeable, Unmeasurable Energy that keeps your heart beating and your mind thinking and your love growing will somehow disappear into nothingness at the instant that your body dies.  You are trusting that all you know about life is all there is to know.  That’s a lot of faith, if you ask me.

In my case, my faith is pretty simple.   I just trust God.  I trust the answer I received when I got down on my knees one night and asked “Is it true? Is He risen?”  I trust the peace I have carried with me ever since.  I trust the joy I feel every Easter when I call my sisters and say “He is risen” and hear the words back “He is risen, indeed.”  Maybe my faith is simple, but I don’t believe God would make His love so complicated that only the scholar or philosopher could comprehend it. God’s love must be available to everyone or it means nothing. I think that’s called a categorical imperative. I think I wrote a paper on that once, in fact –   once, on a beautiful Easter Sunday locked away in a dorm room while the sun rose outside.

By the way, the man I had brunch with?  He prayed that prayer.  He got his answer. He was baptized a year or so later.  And then he married me.

Happy Easter,

with love from Martha

Episode #102: To Whom It May Concern

“And promise me, each of you, this work you’re doing – it’s important. But it won’t always be easy, so please take good care of your hearts, because from them flow the wellsprings of life. And life is so beautiful. Don’t waste a moment of it.”

– Theresa Capodiamonte

Carol Burnett To Guest Star On “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” Season Finale

Carol Burnett will guest star on the Season One finale of Hallmark’s new original primetime series, Signed, Sealed, Delivered. The new series from Executive Producer Martha Williamson (Touched By An Angel) premieres on April 20 (8pmET/PT) and stars stars Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty), Kristin Booth (The Kennedys), Crystal Lowe (Smallville) and Geoff Gustafson (Primeval: New World) as a quartet of Postal Detectives who track down the rightful owners of undeliverable mail. These redirected letters and packages can save lives, solve crimes, reunite old loves and change futures by arriving late but somehow on time.

CarolBurnettWeb-225x300Season One will include 10 one-hour episodes, with Burnett joining the series’ other special guest stars appearing throughout the season, including Valerie Harper, Della Reese, Valerie Bertinelli and Marilu Henner. In “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” Ms. Burnett will guest star as the grandmother of irrepressible (and adorkable) #POstable “Norman Dorman (Gustafson),” a core member of the quartet of unusual mail detectives. The season finale, guest-starring Burnett, is scheduled to air June 22.

“Carol is an American legend who has used words to bring joy and laughter, to encourage, inspire and heal us through nearly six decades of life,” said Series Creator and Executive Producer Martha Williamson. “It’s my privilege to welcome my hero and mentor to the show,” she added.

Carol Burnett is one of the most beloved, talented and prolific comedians in history. Her career-defining work on CBS’s popular comedic variety hour, The Carol Burnett Show, made her a television sensation, as well as earned her the distinction of being one of America’s most admired women in entertainment. The Carol Burnett Show ran for 11 years and received 25 Emmy® Awards, making Burnett herself a multiple Emmy® and Golden Globe® award-winner. In addition to her accolades for her television genius, Burnett has received the Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for Humor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Burnett has also written three New York Times bestselling books, including her most recent one “Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story”, for which Burnett received her second Grammy® nomination for Best Spoken Word.

Burnett originating the role of Winifred in Once Upon A Mattress on Broadway and is well known for her starring role as “Miss Hannigan” in the film production of the musical Annie.