Category Archives: Easter
Easter is Sunday. In thinking about the Easter story, I was struck by two things. First how unnoticed the first Easter was, and second, how much waiting surrounds Easter. I suppose I should elaborate.
Easter is central to the Christian faith. Without Easter, there is no Christian faith. Given how much notice the seminal events in Jesus life received, Easter is surprisingly low key. Indeed, if one accepts the earliest copies of Mark’s gospel, we have only some frightened women and an empty tomb. Angels will appear, but again, only to some women. The guards are struck as dead men when Jesus rises from the tomb, so they see nothing, and can only report that the tomb is empty.
John reports that the first disciples to inquire again find only an empty tomb. John believes, but Peter has only questions. The risen Christ is finally spotted by the same group of women who have attended Him throughout His ministry, and they at first think He’s the gardener.
At Jewish law, women cannot give testimony, and so God deliberately chooses to reveal himself to people whose testimony cannot count and cannot be trusted. It seems a strange thing to do, as if He is making deliberately difficult to get to the bottom of what He is up to. He confounds the wisdom of the wise, and turns this world upside-down, but we have to work to find it. Why?
Thus the waiting. There is a lot of waiting in the Easter story. Jesus gets shuttled back and forth between the various authorities in Jerusalem waiting for the resolution He knows will come. He is several hours dying on the Cross. Nothing happens quickly. And then comes Holy Saturday, where Christ lies buried deep in the bowels of the earth, unseen. Holy Saturday is the day nothing happens, the day we wait.
There is much to ponder here. Which is why we wait. In the hidden places, God is at work.
Call to worship:
“It is finished!” The words fall down with the peal of thunder, echoing across the hills and valleys. Then darkness. Silence.
God is dead. We have killed Him, you and I.
Our prayers ascend to a silent heaven, where there is no one to answer. Our faith is in vain. From whence cometh our help?
Then come the women, looking to do properly what the men have rushed. To give final homage to the Teacher, and patch the hole in their own hearts.
All is amiss. The soldiers are missing, and the stone moved.
He is gone! Panic. Fear. Despair.
They spy the gardener. Perhaps he will know.
They ask, and he answers with a name.
And sears them with the bursting light of a thousand suns,
Obliterating the darkness,
Making bold the truth, which now we proclaim, joining with the faithful in every time and from every land:
CHRIST IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!
Glory. Hallelujah. Amen.