“Mary came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed.”
Many years ago when we lived in a Kentish village we had a car port, a
corrugated plastic roof on sticks. Early one morning walking into the
garden I was stunned to discover it empty. A panic set in, had I left
the car somewhere else? Where was I last night anyway? Perhaps I had
left the handbrake off and it had rolled down the drive? Now when
something alarming happens it is your first instinct to tell someone;
Frances came running down the stairs setting off towards the car port
and finding it empty, wondered what had happened.
Mary runs to the disciples, distressed and out of breath from her hard
running she gasps out without pre-amble or explanation: “They have taken
the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid him.”
Her mind is all anxiety “What new outrage have they inflicted on him?”
Peter and the other disciple rush to witness the awful truth for
The explanation for my car was simple. A local burglar, known to the
police, had carried out a successful night’s work in the village and in
need of a taxi to carry his loot had borrowed my car. He had taken an
early morning train from Paddock Wood railway station to his usual fence
in the Charing Cross road and my car was found neatly garaged in the
station car park. Replacing the lock and making good the paintwork was
enough to ensure that afterwards nothing really had changed.
But when Jesus was found everything changed. This resurrection was
singular; there had been nothing like it before nor anything since. You
may have Lazarus still in mind from the visit to Bethany but Lazarus,
awakened from his grave, has a mortality and was still to die again.
Jesus was raised bodily from the dead but with a transformed embodiment,
which Mary did not recognize, until he approached her. As the prayer of
committal used at funerals and burials tells us:
“in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life trough our
Lord Jesus Christ who will transform our frail bodies that they may
conform to his glorious body.”
The promise of resurrection is not life as we know it, not more of the
same but something completely new.
I do like eggs – they are wondrous. When we had geese, at around this
time of year mother goose would retire to her nest to sit patiently for
weeks on end. During this time the eggs did not appear to change, you
could look at them daily and there was no sign of activity. Yet the
miracle of birth was going on inside those shells and suddenly would
burst forth in unheralded adorable yellow fluff.
God sent his only son as a witness to His eternal love and Jesus’
resurrection is the sign of the miracle of death. For Jesus burst forth
from the tomb to tell Mary to tell us that all had changed:
“I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
This is the joy of Easter day.
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