by Ben Swanson
Each year, I return to the Easter event as told by one of the gospel writers. I wonder if I will have anything new to say after so many years of presenting the same narrative.
I get surprised every year.
This year, Mary Magdalene’s decision to go and sit at Jesus’ tomb struck me. She’s devastated by the death of Jesus. He was Mary’s great friend, and she’d placed her hopes in him. Now Jesus lies dead in the tomb.
Mary travels to the source of her despair, and she invites us to do the same. Sometimes we wrestle with God. Sometimes Jesus seems as dead to us as he was to Mary. She encourages us to go to the tomb – to journey to the source of our despair. When we do, we get the chance to experience rebirth, renewal, and new life.
Another surprise came from the image of the stone rolled away from the tomb entrance. That image always fills me with a sense of hope and joy. But I realized that for Mary it was a terror. It meant that someone had robbed Jesus’ tomb. Maybe he’s still there?! No wonder she ran to the disciples for help.
When things look like a disaster, maybe God is up to something supremely life-giving. Within the disaster, what is God’s surprising activity?
Finally, as I told the children on Easter morning, “God’s will is life.” We’ve prayed for 40 days, “Thy will be done,” and because of the resurrection we know that his ultimate will is abundant, full, and everlasting life.