After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’ So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.’
(The Gospel of Saint Matthew chapter 28 verses 1-10)
For years preachers have struggled to convey a sense of what resurrection is. Here we have it writ large in our lives. Resurrection is not simply resuscitated. It is our entry into a whole new existence.
We, you and I, all of us, the whole of humanity is passing through tumultuous times. When we emerge from our homes, from our enforced seclusion, from the discipline of our distancing, as if from our tombs, it will be to a new world. A world reborn.
Life will not be the same again. Some things will of course, appear unchanged. But we have been changed by our common experience; by this new story that did not exist in our lives before, and will now forever be our story.
This present trauma ultimately cannot hold us, just as the tomb could not hold our Saviour Jesus. He burst out of it, and the world burst into life in his resurrection.
A few years ago I printed these words in the Easter order of service in Rockbourne,
‘No matter how devastating our struggles, disappointments, and troubles are, they are only temporary.
No matter what happens to you, no matter the depth of tragedy or pain you face,
no matter how death stalks you and your loved ones,
the Resurrection promises you a future of immeasurable good.’
This is our hope and our faith. For Christ is raised from the dead, and we are raised in him.