"Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here."The Gospel of Mark tells us that Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought spices to the tomb to prepare the body of Jesus for a proper burial. But when they arrived, the stone that had sealed off the tomb had been rolled away. We can imagine that they were perplexed, confused, and scared of what they might find in the tomb. Had the body of Jesus been disturbed, or perhaps even desecrated? Could the horror of the cross get any worse?
An angel in the empty tomb spoke into the women's confusion and fear. "Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here." And then added, "Go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you."
What stones of disbelief, unknowing, and fear need to be rolled away from the tombs of our own lives? What hinders us from believing the reality of Jesus' resurrection? What constrains us from telling the world that Jesus is alive? What are we afraid of?
The truth of Easter morning is that God will not leave us alone in our confusion and fear. The risen Lord always goes ahead of us, calling us to live in the fullness and possibility of God's love for us, and for the whole world. So let us leave our empty tombs behind. Let us go forth heralding and participating in the new life of Jesus' resurrection. Let us sing our hallelujahs and recommit to restoring all people, and all creation, to unity with God and each other in Christ. There can be no greater Easter joy.
The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens & The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas