We’ve heard the story so many times – Jesus died, Jesus rose from the dead – that we think we know something about something, and maybe we do know, if nothing else, a profound hope, the hope of eternal life not on some fluffy cloud playing a harp with cherubs floating around, but a hope of something that will be far more mysterious and satisfying in the presence of Life itself.
But there are many things on this side of eternity that we will never know. What happened, for example, to those bodies that rose from the graves that opened on that violent Good Friday earthquake? One can imagine Jim, your dearly-departed husband who left you three years ago after a heart-attack returning to the house with a knock on the door and coming in and sitting at the dining table and asking what might be for supper.
Or just what was so different about the risen Lord that made it so hard to even recognize him? Mary at the tomb thought he was the gardener, the two gentlemen on the road to Emmaus thought he was just a fellow traveller and Jesus’ own closest friends, at first, didn’t know this fellow on the beach was anyone important. Of course they did later when at an open fire he cooked them a fresh post-resurrection breakfast of fresh fish. Then, unlike, say, a ghost, he ate some himself in front of his astonished buddies.
All this is to say that one day we will know many things including the afterlife whereabouts of Hannah’s rabbit. The small rabbit died after just a short life of a couple of months when a neighbour boy, very unintentionally but carelessly, threw him to his death while playing a little too rough.
The rabbit didn’t’ even have a name yet. It was just six-weeks-old or so and Hannah was taking her time. It died when, unlike a cat who will always land on its feet, it landed on its neck after being thrown in the air for a spin or two.
Hannah was not at the scene, but Jon was and he was very frantic with the screams and tears as you might imagine, while the poor neighbour boy who did the tossing ran away screaming something about wanting to die himself. His words apparently were ‘Just kill me now!’
‘What did you think at that moment when the rabbit died?’ I later asked Jon. He answered, ‘I knew that it was dead and there was nothing that anyone could do to change that.’
We buried the nameless rabbit beside a tree out back where several other rabbits, barely a couple of hours old when they died, are also laid to rest. And after we sang a song and had an appropriate reading, I asked who wanted to pray, and Hannah said she would.
‘Dear Jesus. Please take care of my rabbit, was pretty well all she said, and all she had to. And one can imagine that of all the things we will someday find out, we might discover plenty of rabbits there with our Lord … along with some other pleasant surprises.
This, after all, is the hope of Easter.