One long ago autumn afternoon, I was mulching leaves in our then parsonage yard, when I noticed that the gas cap was gone from the lawn mower.
This was not good.
The fuel bouncing up out the tank onto the engine spelled 9-1-1. The dust all over the top of the tank presented the possibility of dirty fuel, and engine failure. Raking was not an option: I was down to my last leaf pickup, and I was only halfway done.
I shut down the mower, and worked the problem.
Perhaps, a rogue branch from the hedge had pulled it off, I thought. I checked the hedge. I checked it again. I even checked it after a bit of lunch. Then, I walked over the whole lawn. The cap was not to be found.
This was bad.
Desperate times demand desperate measures, I thought. Ingenuity is the mother of invention, I remembered. I grabbed some aluminum foil, fashioned a gas cap, and stuck it on the mower. It was ugly, and the fix sort of worked. By sunset, the leaves were all mulched and out for collection. But, the ring around my tin foil cap told the tale: Making do would simply not do.
Bad had gone to worse.
On the first evening of the following spring - grace happened.
I stopped, got out of the car, picked up the mail, settled back into the driver’s seat, and when I looked up, there under the hedge in the beam of the headlights was my long lost gas cap. Worse had gone to good. My lawn mower could mow again.
Easter is a like that.
Three women come to a tomb expecting to a dead Jesus, and they find a young man it a white robe, and he is clearly not Jesus. The women are alarmed. Bad has gone to worse. Then, grace begins to happen.
“You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified,” he said to them. “He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.” (Mark 16:6)
From that day on, nothing was ever the same. Bad went to good. Anger gave way to reconciliation. Forgiveness healed undeserved hurts. Hate filled hearts chose love instead. Greedy souls became generous souls. Self-indulgent strangers became selfless, gracious neighbors. Anxious spirits left the worry of serving many things to the peace of choosing one thing. Crooks turned honest. Liars spoke truth. Cowards became brave. Cheats kept their word. Death gave way to life.
Christ is risen; we can all live again.