“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” (Luke 24:1-3).
God of resurrection, we come to the tomb bearing spices we have prepared. We have seen death up close and personal and we know what to do; our spices in hand are testament to that. We, along with the women who followed your son from Galilee, have stood at a distance watching these things paralyzed by grief and fear. We, along with them, have seen the mocking and scoffing of a rigged justice system; a kangaroo court by which unjust convictions lead to death. In the chilled hours of early dawn we’ve walked among the tombs expecting nothing more than death. Journeying among the stone cold cemetery markers of an unlit day we see death everywhere and it scares us into euphemisms and denial; And yet in our heart of hearts we know there can be no denial. We know that death lives in our families, in our communities and in our world. We know that death will one day claim us. It always does. We’ve seen it with our own eyes as your son closed his eyes breathing his last on the hardwood of a cross. Death is all too real. So like those early morning women, we sojourn with broken hearts; carrying our spices among the tombs imagining only death.
But you O God won’t have any of that, for you are the One that no tomb on earth can contain; not even the fancy new ones. Indeed, you are doing a new thing. Your voice shakes the mighty cedars of Lebanon. A word issues forth from your lips and creation itself is birthed into being. Air from your lungs awakens life in our God-imaged bodies. In your resurrection reality, Jesus doesn’t stay dead. In your empty tomb reality, stones are cast aside like pebbles skipping across the rippling waters; grave clothes are left behind; tombs of death are transformed into gateways of life; stunned silence turns into good news of great joy; grieving friends on dusty roads are healed by the presence of a stranger breaking bread in their midst and when all is said and done, the Word goes forth: Your Word goes forth riding atop our alleluias and nothing can stop it; not even death.
Palm Sunday “Hosannas” inevitably turn to Good Friday shouts of “crucify”, but no longer do we look for the living among the dead. Life in the tomb is finished. Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Peace and Love,