The Empty Tomb
1Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!"
3So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. 8Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9(They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
I am not one to get up early. If I had my way I would sleep late everyday. I like sleep. I try to sleep as much as I can. But then there are those nights when the world just seems so wrong, so off, so empty that sleep seems far away. How can one sleep when everything has gone wrong? When all of one's hopes, dreams, and plans have come to an abrupt end? Why sleep when you have to wake up to that slow sad realization that everything has changed - your life has fallen apart?
It was nights like those that came to mind as I read the Resurrection passage here. Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb.
. I picture her unable to sleep since the crucifixion - unwilling to accept the horror and get on with life by subcumming to such an everyday habit of life as sleep. So while it is still dark she goes to the tomb.
The experience of the past few days cannot be processed. How could she ever come to terms with what happened? He had promised a new Kingdom and a new and more glorious way of life. He had challenged what was wrong with the world and offered hope to the suffering. He had encouraged her as a woman
to follow him. How could he let this happen? How could it all just be over?
I picture Mary going to the tomb because there was no where else she felt she could possibly be. Annointing spices were a good reason, but like so many others across time, she had to return to that which she had lost. The life, the promises, the man. Life cannot go forward, she can't get back what had been lost. The grieving process has hardly begun and so all she can think to do is go to the tomb. Be as close as she can to that which was lost.
To find that the stone had been moved.
Anger, rage, confusion, fear. How does one handle the torrent of emotions? How does one respond to this new affront? At this point how can there be any hope of a happy ending?
Easter for us is a time of joy. It is the symbol of hope and of life. The first day of the week is a time of celebration, time to express our joy. But I wonder what extremities of emotion those who discovered the empty tomb experienced before the truth was fully revealed.
I pray for a blessed Easter for all who read this. And I pray that the joy and celebration will not just be a veneer on the realities of life. I pray that the trappings and the traditions will not just be perfunctory elements this year, but instead be personal and transformative. May the message of Jesus and the hope of the Resurrection permeate your life and meet you in the midst of whatever you are dealing with. May Christ be celebrated for conquering death, setting captives free, and healing the brokenhearted.
He is Risen.
May we be able to answer with all that we are - He is Risen Indeed!
Labels: Easter, Holidays, Via Crucis Gridbllog