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He Is Risen

By Terry Joseph
April 16, 2004

Easter is a fitting season for miracles and resurrection easily the most astonishing of such marvels, which is probably why Brian Lara chose to rise again last weekend at the Antigua Recreation Ground, mere days after he was crucified for repeatedly failing to meet the expectations of West Indian cricket fans.

His crucifixion came long before Good Friday, marked by insensitive merriment and feasting among unbelievers, whose mocking "I told you so" echoed tenfold after the man dubbed the Prince of Port of Spain, led his disciples to a third successive catastrophe.

Sceptics not only nailed him to a cross but inflicted fresh loathing at every station, yea even unto calling for the Under-19 eleven to replace his apostles, saying the youngsters could do no worse than their elders. The scribes had a field day, prematurely writing his epitaph and the Pharisees laughed away any possibility of a resurrection.

For they had seen him fail at many worldly challenges, his authority as leader petered after being denied three times in recent tests and worse, Matthew (Hayden) had meanwhile been appointed high priest of the game. In the eyes of his detractors, Lara was dead. For all they cared, what was left of his spirit could go wherever it pleased, perhaps retire "in his house of many mansions".

Yet, they couldn't completely erase suspicion he might really be King of the Juice so, from day one, the multitudes set out for the Antigua Recreation Ground to witness the fourth and final test. With the larger contention already lost, the faithful merely wished to see their leader one more time, still hoping for a miracle.

They came from divers places, more than half among them from far across the waters, to what many thought was his sepulchre, the tomb in which a once-sparkling career would finally be interred, some went merely to vindicate their derisive predictions, others to lament and wail; for they too had seen him die.

But on the third day, he rose again, choosing the same place in which his first major miracle was performed ten years earlier to repeat the feat, this time feeding an audience of more than twice the 5,000. The multitudes were astonished to find his stigma suddenly healed and marvelled at the risen Prince.

Verily, he divined a whipping on the Barmy Army, smiting them as if they were moneychangers in the temple. Women who up to that time, were drinking only water, suddenly turned to wining. The prodigy son had returned, now the man, one they said was sick with the palsy; stood upright. The "blind" bat seeth clearly now.

"One Brian Lara, there is only one Brian Lara," they sang, as he ministered unto them. Wisden's Cup, lost to the team, now runneth over with fresh statistics supplied by the Prince of Port of Spain. Not only had he become the first Test cricketer to score 400 runs but similarly singular for having set the world record" read a placard in the crowd.

Lara kissed the earth as he had done in 1994 when first achieving such glory and embraced his faithful disciple Ridley Jacobs who, like Simon of Cyrene, had stayed with him and the air was filled with jollification. Even those who participated in his crucifixion now rushed to do supplication before him.

And they all gathered and in good voice, singing praises unto him. No one now argued about Lara's leadership, nor whether he was justly named Sportsman of the Year 2003, nor likewise any of the various other chastisements that ever-so-recently prevailed; all of which evaporated in the glow of the moment.

Among the brethren congregated were those who interpret portents, one remarking it was Lara's second time as West Indies captain, noting he was only the second person to twice score 300 runs in test matches, chalking up his second world-record breaking score again at the Antigua Recreation Ground and in no time, the lay prophet distilled these observations into what he called: The Second Coming.

For they too had seen his career in the throes of death and, notwithstanding all the prophecy and parables, there seemed little chance of a comeback. In the last days, they pleaded with him for a sign but with a succession of dismal scores, all hope of their leader returning to the top of the heap had been reduced to a collective demonstration of faith.

Now, everything was distinctly different. He was their leader again. He had risen. Sport Minister Roger Boynes further elevated the redeemer's status, anointing him King of Port of Spain. Bristow Caribbean Ltd announced it would name a helicopter after him, adding to a staggering list of already-bestowed gifts and accolades.

And a woman among them, one who defended him throughout, chanted excerpts from Ecclesiastes 3 in hailing his resurrection: "To everything there is a season, a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance."

They had spent much time weeping and mourning and now they danced like never before.

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