Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
– John 20:1-9
HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!
When I was a kid Easter preparation started months out with my grandmother (Nannie) making an Easter dress for my sister from scratch. I remember shopping for a pastel shirt/tie combo for myself which both annoyed me and made me feel much older.
We did all this in preparation for his very morning, to arrive at Easter and echo one another, “He is Risen!” “He is Risen indeed!” And this is true!
Except our reading today gives us a different scene at that first Easter. For them it was, “Oh my God! They took his body and we don’t know where they put him!” It even says at the end, “They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise…”
So yes, He is Risen. He is risen indeed. But we still don’t understand that he has to rise all the time in our lives. So celebrate with joy! Lift your voice and sing Alleluia! O’death where is victory?! O’death where is your sting?! But when the darkness enveloped you again and the day becomes like night, when you search your tombs and cavernous desires and all you see are where his presence used to be keep coming back to your humanity, keep coming back to his humanity.
Don’t just shout He is Risen without first acknowledging hat he is dead and they’ve taken his body. Because his rising, his appearing to you is not something you must conjure, but a gift and something he wants to you to have. Resurrection doesn’t depend on positive psychology but on honest confession. Be in the tomb. Be in the dust and see if he does keep meeting you there.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.