"Easter is a terrific story,” says Tony Hendra, an actor, satirist and author of the wonderful book Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Life. So it is, and so we rediscover each year as we turn to the familiar narratives. The Gospels’ accounts are themselves modest, however. Curiously missing is any note of celebration. There is no shouting, singing, dancing, no trumpets or Hallelujah choruses. Instead, there is surprise, fear and doubt—emotions I can understand.
When you try to put the stories of the four Gospels together in one narrative, it doesn’t work very well. There are discrepancies, conflicts, confusions. Was there an earthquake at the resurrection? Were there two white-clad figures or maybe just one announcing that the tomb was empty? Was Mary alone or with other women? Did Peter come alone to the empty tomb or did he run there with John? It’s not clear.