"The very first Easter taught us this: that life never ends and love never dies."  ~~Kate McGahan

Hi all,

Happy Easter!!!  I hope you're all doing well! 

So as with some prior years, we're gonna step away from Andrew and Co. to focus on Joshua this time around.  Seems fitting!  So I wrote a little vignette about Easter morning with him. 

I have a couple bigger stories planned for this year but as both involve folks gathering in biggish groups, I'm putting a hold on starting those until I have a better handle on how the vaccine roll-out is going and how much of the 18-44 age range is vaccinated since most of the characters involved fall into that group.  In the meantime, I think I'm going to explore a couple of different avenues for short stories to keep me busy:
1.  Joshua's life in NYC, an example of which is below and
2.  Andrew and JenniAnn and their household being given a new task: helping angels who are struggling to deal with events in the modern world.  So think of Takoda but with shorter stints at Willowveil.

So that's the plan! 

Have a blessed day!

God bless,

A Light Shines

Sunday, April 4th, 2021

Joshua drowsily opened his eyes and stared up at his ceiling.  He turned his head to the window and saw the early morning light peeking in.  He smiled.

Easter morning.


Joshua thanked his Dad for the beautiful morning and the day to come then allowed himself a few more moments to enjoy the comfortableness of his bed.

And then he became aware of the delectable scents wafting into his room.

"Yohannan..." Joshua whispered, smiling, as he got out of his bed to don his robe and slippers and headed to the kitchen.

"Good morning, Yohannan," he greeted as he entered the room.

John turned away from the batter he was mixing and beamed at his cousin.

"Good morning, Yeshua!  Happy You're Not Dead Day!" John cheered.

Joshua laughed and hugged the man tightly.

"Thank you.  But now I feel very lazy!  You've been busy!"  Joshua surveyed the array of muffins covering the table and countertops. 

John chuckled.

"You're not lazy in the least.  I'm just very indecisive.  I saw a recipe for oatmeal fig muffins that I wanted to make for you today.  So I did."  John waved to a particular tray.  "Help yourself."

"I will!  Thank you!"  Joshua happily selected a muffin then said a blessing over it.

Once he was finished, John continued.

"But then I started to crave lemon poppyseed...  So I made some of those.  And then it occurred to me that Yemimah might pop over and I better have something chocolate.  And then blueberry is such a staple and then... well... things got out of hand.  I thought we could bring some to our neighbors later."

Joshua rose and patted his cousin on the back.

"That's a beautiful idea.  And I appreciate all this.  Truly.  And... that is a very delicious muffin.  Thank you."

John released his mixer then turned around and pulled Joshua into a bear hug.

"The least I could do, cousin.  I'm so grateful to have spent this time with you... even when it's been so hard."

Joshua's eyes filled and he nodded. 

"I'm grateful, too.  It meant a lot to have you by my side... especially during the worst of it."

The two men peered into each other's eyes, remembering refrigerated trucks filled with bodies and ICU wards steeped in sorrow but they also remembered resiliency and bravery and compassion.

Joshua rested a hand against John's right cheek and smiled proudly at him.

"Could you maybe put that batch you're working on in the oven and come sit with me on the balcony?  Please?" he requested.

"I'd love to," John accepted.

While he went to finish mixing the cranberry orange muffins, Joshua prepared coffee for them both and brought their mugs and a platter of assorted muffins to a bistro set they'd set up on the balcony.  After a few minutes, John joined him.

After taking a sip of his coffee, John took in the scenery.

"I believed that you were the Messiah... that you would conquer death... that I'd live again.  But I think if you'd told me about skyscrapers and cars and airplanes, I would have thought you were nuts," he commented.

Joshua burst out laughing.

"I might very well have thought the same," he agreed.  "So different from how we grew up.  Not that Egypt and Jerusalem didn't boast their own amazing architectural feats but..."

"Not so many!  And so varied!" John exclaimed.  "Although... what our people did, we did without electronic machinery.  That's something."

Joshua thought of all the toil that had gone into every temple, pyramid, and aqueduct and nodded.

"It's amazing what people can do when they work together," he mused before taking a bite of another muffin.  "Mmm.  Cherry almond?"

John chuckled and nodded.

"Delicious.  Good job!" Joshua complimented.  He noticed then that his cousin hadn't been enjoying the fruits of his own labor.  "You're not eating?  Do you need me to conjure some locusts and honey?" he teased.

John chuckled and shook his head.

"No... please, no.  I'm just... taking it all in."

Joshua's left eyebrow raised.

"There's something you're not saying," he gently pressed.

John frowned and nodded.

"Today is a happy day," he replied.

"It is," Joshua agreed.  "But that doesn't mean that pain, struggles, fear, etc. are all taking the day off.  I still hear about them.  I still listen.  I don't take days off.  Not really.  And if I can listen to people all around the universe... I can listen to my own cousin."

John gave Joshua a sheepish smile and nodded.

"Just... the dream again.  I don't die... at least... not before you.  So... so I'm there.  At... the end."  Tears welled in the Baptizer's eyes.

Joshua reached across the table and squeezed John's hand.

"Abi has those dreams, too, sometimes when we're back here.  There are reasons you weren't there, Yohannan... just as there were reasons my Ama, Mary, and my apostle Yohannan were."

"I know...  But it troubles me sometimes... to think what I might have done... or not done.  Not sure I could have turned the other cheek... seeing them treat you like that."

"You would have because you would have known I didn't want further violence," Joshua insisted.  "But you were exactly where I needed you to be... preaching to those in Sheol.  And preaching very, very well I might add."

John beamed, remembering.

"Can't say I was crazy about how many times you used the phrase 'my baby cousin' but..."

John chuckled as Joshua grinned and shrugged.

Joshua patted his cousin's hand. 

"You did good, Yohannan.  Now eat.  Please.  You should be able to enjoy your own culinary talents."

John nodded then, after saying a blessing, dug into a lemon poppyseed muffin.  As he did, he peered across the table at his cousin, basking in the glow of his love.


An hour later, after dressing and preparing for the day, Joshua and John divided up the muffins into baskets, donned masks, and parted ways to visit their neighbors.

"Happy Easter, Marilyn!" Joshua greeted once an elderly woman answered her door.  "I brought breakfast."

The woman's face lit up.

"Oh!  Happy Easter, Joshua!  Those look wonderful!"

She waved Joshua in and he set the basket on a table.

"They are!  Courtesy of my cousin John," Joshua informed.

Marilyn smirked, not unkindly.

"Ah, yes, your 'cousin.'"

"He is my cousin," Joshua insisted.

"I see, dear..." Marilyn replied, her doubt obvious.  "God love you both.  You're wonderful just as you are."

Joshua chuckled.

"John truly is my cousin, Marilyn.  Genetically related via our mothers.  But I love that you said that.  Thank you."

"Oh!  I'm sorry that I assumed..."  Marilyn's face flushed.

Joshua smiled and patted her shoulder.

"Don't be."

"You're still wonderful just as you are," Marilyn repeated.  "And such a blessing!  I was just wishing I had something better than cereal to start this blessed day with.  And now I do!  And you know... I've been fully vaccinated..."

Joshua nodded, removed his mask to reveal his smile, and embraced the woman.

"Even better than the muffins..." Marilyn murmured.

"It is," Joshua agreed.  "But... they are really good muffins."

Laughing, Marilyn patted Joshua on the back then stepped away to peruse the treats.

"Ooh...  Is this orange cranberry?"


"My favorite!" Marilyn gushed.

Joshua smiled then replaced his mask.

"I better get back to my deliveries now but you let us know if you need anything," he encouraged.

"Will do, sweetie.  Thank you again.  And to John, too!  Happy Easter!"

"Happy Easter!" Joshua echoed before taking his leave.

Left alone, Marilyn happy selected a muffin then said a prayer.

She smiled as she noticed a signed note from the cousins.

"Joshua and John...  Like in the Gospels.  I wonder if their parents planned that?" she mused aloud before happily beginning her breakfast.


That evening, Joshua and John returned to their balcony where they sipped wine and took in the lights and sounds of the city.

At one point, Joshua noticed his cousin staring at him.

"What ya thinking?" he asked.

John smiled as he came out of his reverie.

"Just about the miracle of it all.  Being alive.  Being here with you.  There were times... times that everything seemed very, very dark.  But..."

"A light shines in the darkness..." Joshua intoned.

"And the darkness has not overcome it," John joined him in saying.

Joshua raised his glass.

"To the greatest prophet," he toasted.

John smiled and raised his own glass.

"To my baby cousin... the Light of the World."

The two clinked their glasses then peered up at the heavens, feeling the love of the Father surrounding them.

The End

This newsletter is dedicated to John Dye for reminding us of the Easter message that death is only the beginning.

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