The devil’s look pierced thin smoke-ribbons and fell on his underling, Fireball. “How are things shaping up this Easter?” he asked.

Fireball shrugged. “Normal. Lots of nice outfits being assembled. Florists doing a big business. Choirs tuning up on the old hymns about victory over the grave.”

“Anything serious to our cause?”

“No more than usual. Some of them are always a problem. They mean that creed they repeat. But millions of them probably never dig this Easter thing.”

Satan winced. “I suppose it would avail me nothing to protest your use of this earth-patois.”

“Your pardon, Majesty. But everybody seems to be doing it, especially in America, where I am assigned. Not that I’m ungrateful for the assignment. It’s a great place for doing your thing. Particularly around Christmas or Easter. They really lay it on you then!”

The devil glowered. “In ‘doing your thing,’ as you insist on putting it, you made out a report?”

“Affirmative, Majesty. For one thing, the Greeks seem to be ahead.”

“The Greeks?”

“The Greeks, sir. They had this thing about immortality, remember? Lots of Christians appear to like their ideas better than those in the New Testament. Many of them seem to be taking less and less to the Resurrection.”

“Hmmm. Very interesting. Immortality is fine. Let them talk about it. But muddy the theme as much as possible.”

Fireball nodded. “I know. Play down the centrality of the Resurrection. Shoo them from the fact of how that event motivated the evangelism of the first Christians.”

“That, and much more. Try to keep the word justification out of their minds. They are not to realize why He arose from the dead. And keep them from studying Paul too much, especially where he insists that if Christ did not rise from the dead, then mankind ...

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