He has been raised; he is not here. (Mark 16:6)
Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, this joyful Eastertide!
Though evil may lurk and sin may strangle, our God has a love that is more fierce than the grave. As we learned from C.S. Lewis, when an innocent one is offered for the guilty, even death itself will overturn. And Easter morning is certainly evidence of that.
For all of us who have ever lost someone in this life, this sentence from Mark is what we all wait to hear. The one we loved, that we thought was gone forever, has been raised up and has gone ahead of us. Just imagine the feeling for those women who found him.
In all four gospel accounts, it is women who find the empty tomb first and who are charged to go and preach the very first Christian sermon. Go and tell the good news! What is fascinating about the gospel of Mark is that the women are left “trembling” and unable to do… well, anything.
One of my colleagues and mentors once pointed out that while we usually associate trembling with fear, a.k.a. quaking in our boots, we can also tremble with anticipation. The story has not ended, but is in fact just beginning. The sheer overwhelming nature of such a message can easily cast us in stone, at least for a time.
Imagine the myriad of emotions at hearing the Easter message. Can it possibly be true? Who will believe us? Where is he then? How do we live now? What will this mean? The possibilities are endless. Excitement and a healthy dose of fear engulf us in a state of wobble unlike any we have ever known.
So what does Easter mean for us? For one, though our excitement may get the better of us, we should not languish too long in our shudders. We should live into the call given to the women that day – go and tell the good news. What is that good news, you ask? New life has come. All the other forces of the world that seem to overpower us daily will NOT have the last word. Love wins!
That message should impact the way we view and live every moment of our lives: for each is a chance to share that new life with the world. We can now offer kindness and mercy to those who have wronged us. We can now share the Light with others by lifting up the downtrodden and binding up the broken hearted. We can now stand with all who live in fear, danger, subjugation, or oppression, and seek a better world. We can now show love with a reckless abandon that should leave the whole world quaking in its boots.
Why? Christ is risen – he is risen indeed! Alleluia!