The story of the women at the tomb at Easter never fails to get the message of Easter across to me. That morning there was Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Jesus, Joanna, and several other women who had been following Jesus.
They had been devastated by what they have seen and heard, unable to take in the horror of what they’d seen, the anguish and the agony with which Jesus coped with such quiet dignity and awesome courage. Jesus had warned them to expect the worse, but they had refused to accept it.
As they walked that morning to the tomb, all such thoughts had gone, buried along with our Lord, life dark, cold and empty, bereft of meaning.
They had set off early that morning, picked some flowers, gathered spices and herbs, to anoint his body. It was their custom, the least that they could do.
The final gift that they could give him.
They hadn’t given any thought about how to move the stone away and yet, when they arrived, the stone had been rolled away from the tomb.
They cautiously approached the tomb, unaware of what they would find inside, waiting for the stench of a corpse beginning to decay, to assault their senses.
Even in the gloom they could see that the body they had expected wasn’t there. Before they had time to even wonder, two men in gleaming clothes suddenly appeared. It scared them witless. All that they could do was to bow down in awe.
And then they were asked, ‘why are you looking for the living among the dead?’ He is not here. He is risen.’
Then they remembered the words that he’d said.
‘The Son of man would be delivered into the hands of sinful men.’
And slowly it came back. He would be crucified and on the third day he would rise again.
And then the reality hit it them, as they realised that Jesus had indeed risen, the two Marys, Joanna and the others rushed off to tell the disciples.
But you can imagine Mary’s memories of phrases of prophet Isaiah.
… I will create a new heaven and earth …
… The sound of weeping and crying will be no more …
… they will be a people blessed by the Lord …
… the wolf and the lamb will lie together …
Is that what resurrection means? New life?
He had risen, just as they had been told, death unable to unable to hold him!
But it wasn’t just for Mary or the women at the tomb, but for all of us.
For there in the garden, life began again, life which we thought had died in us forever.
Given the past couple of years and what we have seen happening in the Ukraine recently, Easter reminds us again of new beginnings, hope reborn, faith renewed, love rekindled and joy restored.
We need that more than ever for our world today.