But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared.2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,3but when they went in, they did not find the body.4While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them.5The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.6Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,7that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”8Then they remembered his words,9and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest.10Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles.11But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.12But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.
We have sat in silence in these hours in between, grieving our grief, feeling our despair, and not knowing where to turn. But in the dawn of the morning, things look different. The stone is rolled away and the tomb is empty. He is not here. He is Risen! And suddenly, the dawn breaks into full light. What once was gone is here; what once was dead is alive; what once was hopeless has brought hope and light and life to all.
Last evening was our Easter Vigil. I guess we’re sort of wimps, so to speak. We start at 6:00, read through the Scriptures, remember our Baptism, and then share in the Eucharist and it’s Easter! But for Methodists, that’s pretty good. The point, after all, is not how long it takes. But, admittedly, we cut the waiting a little short. I went early and began to set up for it, moving the worship items piece by piece through the darkened sanctuary. I prepared the Eucharist and filled the pitcher with water for the Baptismal font. As I did, I prayed for all of those who would be baptized at St. Paul’s this year, prayed for their lives, for their faith, for their openness.
You know, I think that’s what it’s about, this openness. Think about it. The Christian faith begins with an open tomb, an empty cup, and a dry font. So the stone gets rolled away, the wine is poured into the cup, and the waters of life fill the bowl of our font. And yet, we spend so much of our lives trying to fill our minds and fill our hearts and fill our lives and fill our wallets. What would happen if THIS time, we opened them all up, exposing us to the world the way Jesus’ tomb was exposed that day? What would happen if we were sent into the world vulnerable, open to change, with nothing but our faith?
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth,2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. 3Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.4And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.5God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. (Genesis 1: 1-5)
You see, that’s where we are–back at the beginning. God has taken a darkness-covered formless void in the form of a cross and when we were grieving and silent, we did not notice that a wind from God swept over it. And God, “Let there be light.” Let the light fill the emptiness; let the light sweep through the void; let the light not push the darkness away but, rather, turn it to light. And THAT was only the first day.
Each of our days is a beginning. Each of our days begins with an openness that God fills. Come and see this thing that has happened. God has taken this instrument of death and recreated it into life. If God can do that, imagine what God could do in your life, if you were only open. So, be open and be amazed at what will happen.
Grace and Peace,