|Posted by Baltimore Lutheran Campus Ministry on April 21, 2019 at 7:45 AM|
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The 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. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’
Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But 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.
The women went to the tomb expecting death. Being prepared to do what they could in the face of death- offer devotion by anointing the body with spices. They were doing what you do after a death- going through the motions, taking care of the details. But the tomb was empty. And then two messengers of life brought them word that Jesus was alive, just like he had always said. And these women, bearers of resurrection joy, tell the others. Because you can't keep resurrection to yourself! It's too overhwleming and too beautiful and too surpising.
But the apostles don't belive it. And I don't blame them. Because new life never makes sense. Ever. Not when we are sitting in the shadow of death. New life often feels like someone's trying to play a trick on us. It often feels too good to be true. We don't often trust it as easily as we trust the reality of death. And that may be true for us on Easter morning, even as the church sings with resurrection joy.
But despite our objections and doubt, new life runs out a greets us anyway. Last night I joined with the Church in the Great Vigil of Easter (a long worship service that begins in the darkness of Holy Week and ends with the first worship of Easter!) And there we sang about resurrection: it "puts to flight the works of wickedness; washes away sin; restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to those who mourn; casts out hate; brings peace; and humbles earthly pride." This is what resurrection does. Now. In this life. It changes the future. It changes us. It changes the crud of this world. Not enough for us many days. Not enough for those we pray for who are suffering. But it brings the hope of what will be.
And it keeps happening. Today celebrate resurrection breaking out around you. Let is speak the gospel to you. And be bearers of that resurrection joy to those waiting to hear it.