Given that the Easter Vigil is the most important service not only for Easter but in the entire liturgical year we will here use the Vigil readings. However, these resurrection thoughts certainly apply for Easter morning as well.
Romans 6:3-11; Psalm 114; Luke 24:1-12
“Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” – Martin Luther
We have all heard many sermons on Easter proclaiming that the resurrection teaches us that we here and now are able to rise above the pit falls and tragedies in our lives. We can live into new resurrected life here on this earth. This is a commendable message, and is not only to be remembered but actually lived. However, Jesus’ resurrection is more than a metaphor for our lives today. It is indeed a metaphor, but more. If Jesus himself did not actually rise from the dead, he is no better than the many would be messiahs in history, who have come and gone. They may or may not have been holy people. Their ideas may still profitably live on. But where are they? It is irrelevant whether Jesus experienced a physical resurrection or a spiritual one. There is evidence in the bible for each interpretation. (see any of the 4 Gospel accounts of the resurrection, and also 1 Corinthians 15:42-47) We certainly don’t want to belittle death. Jesus and all of us really do die. But somehow even this final tragedy is overcome. So let’s go back to where we started. If physical death can be conquered, certainly the death of whatever lose we go through in life can also be surmounted. Sometimes we find ourselves focusing on the hurts and losses of the past. Other times we find ourselves focusing on problems that do not yet exist. This is the all too common disease called worry. At these times we will hear the words of the two men at the tomb “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5)
Luke 24:1 says the women came to the tomb at “early dawn.” The Greek literally says they came at “deep dawn.” The New Jerusalem Bible captures the sense well: “at first signs of dawn.”
Luke does not have angels at the tomb (Luke 24:4), but two men. However, the Greek word describing their clothes makes them seem like angels. The word can be variously translated as flashing, gleaming, dazzling, glittering, brilliant or shinning. Those are quite some duds.
The storm fades way,
like a high desert blizzard.
Anew, life goes on.