Sunday, March 31, 2013

#HappyEaster: He Is Risen!

It's Easter, and once again we who believe gather around the table to celebrate Christ's resurrection.  We celebrate an empty tomb, a love so powerful that death had no hold over it.  We celebrate the fact that death isn't the end, but the beginning of better things.  We will eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks as we play today on the 8th Day of Creation - the day when mankind was restored to a hope that had been taken from him through sin.

Of course, on this day 1980 years ago, the disciples weren't feeling quite so optimistic. They were just getting the news of the empty tomb. They didn't yet realize its implications, or understand the meaning.  Right now, Mary Magdalene is searching for an explanation, someone who can tell her where her beloved leader's body has been moved.  Peter, James, and John are in the upper room still waiting, still fearful, still praying for a hope that seemed to have died with their Rabbi.  The world waits for the breaking of dawn.

Then, the dawn comes.  The women rush to the tomb to do the work that the Sabbath day had prevented them from doing.  They expect to find a sealed tomb and a dead body.  Mary Magdalene and those who are with her find the rock securing the burial site has been rolled back, the master's body not found.  She's frantic with grief, angry now imagining that someone has desecrated his tomb. All she wants is to be able to pay her respects to the one man in history who saw her as more than just another fallen woman.

She finds someone she thinks is the gardener, begs him to tell her where the body has been lain so she can give him a proper burial.  He turns to face her, she doesn't recognize him.  He speaks her name, and suddenly she knows! She knows! It's Jesus!  Tears stream down her face and she reaches out to touch him, but he tells her not to. Instead, she is to carry a message to the others, let them know He has risen.  She runs, scarcely believing her own eyes but her heart dances with joy.   He is RISEN!

She tells Peter, James, and John the Good News - hope refound, life restored, a new day truly begun.  They doubt her, but she doesn't care.  They run to see it for themselves, John's youth allowing him to overtake them all.  He sees the empty tomb, the burial clothes rolled neatly on top of the stone where his body was laid.  An angel sits waiting for them.  He asks them why they are searching for Jesus, He isn't here!  They are ashamed of themselves for doubting Mary Magdalene, for doubting Jesus.

They return to the upper room, spreading the news to the others.   This is just the beginning.  For the next 40 days, Jesus will walk among them once more, showing them the way, proving to them that His word can be counted upon.  Jesus will show them the Truth - that Death holds no power over those who are united in Love.  Love is stronger than Death, stronger than Hate, stronger than Anger, stronger than Evil.  Love will always conquer and win - this is what we remember on Easter.   So celebrate His resurrection because in it is our resurrection, too.

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