Beloit, WI

Beloit, WI
photo by Rod Gottfredsen

Friday, April 19, 2019

Resurrection Joy . . . .

My grandfather died when I was nine.  I still remember a daydream from that time which persisted for a number of weeks.  As we would be driving in the car to my grandmother’s house, I would imagine that when we arrived my grandfather would be there.  Of course, I knew this wouldn’t happen, but there was a part of me that desperately wanted this to be true.  Perhaps you have had similar experiences in your times of grief.  Grieving the death of a loved one is painful and we want so badly to wake up and discover that it was all just a bad dream.

As we approach the passages which narrate the events of the first Easter, I believe that it is helpful for us to imagine the grief felt by Jesus’ family and friends after his death.  If we are to appreciate the full impact of their wonder and joy at his Resurrection, we need to remember how much they must have been hurting prior to discovering the tomb empty.  As I read these narratives, I imagine the women with pained expressions, darkened hearts, and low voices as they make their way to the tomb.  Our Easter gospel this year outlines the following:  “1But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.’”  (Luke 24:1-7).  The women received a message from the angels which changed everything - “he is not here, but has risen.”  We see the compassion of the angels as they remind the ladies that Jesus had told them to expect these things.  In verse 8, we read that they remembered Jesus’ words and went to announce it to the disciples and the rest of Jesus’ friends.  The women and the disciples who beheld the risen Jesus that day got to experience what so many of us have longed for in our grieving - to have our loved one given back to us!  When cast in this light, it is perhaps easier to understand their joy and amazement.  Our yearly celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus is an important reminder to us that death does not win in the end.  We continue our journey through the valley of the shadow of death, knowing that the day will come when we will again see those in Jesus whom we love.  Our Easter celebrations are an appetizer before the heavenly banquet that will come when Christ Jesus obliterates death and ushers in the fulfillment of eternal life.

No comments:

Post a Comment