by Jean Dennison
To keep the body safe, they then sealed the tomb by rolling a huge stone over the opening. Imagine it. Would it not have been the ultimate experience of darkness?
For most of us, one of our earliest fears is a fear of the dark. Imaginary things lurk in darkness. Who of us has never been frightened by the thought of a bogeyman in our closet or under the bed? Many of the fairy tales and stories that we read as a child added to our fear of darkness by contrasting good and evil as light and dark. In The Wizard of Oz, Glinda the Good Witch is described as dressed in gown of pure white silk, while the Wicked Witch of the West wears head-to-toe black.
After the grueling winter that many of us experienced, I was looking forward to turning the clock ahead for Daylight Saving Time. I don’t know about you, but those extra few hours of sunlight and daylight had a miraculous effect on me. I felt renewed and energized. It was like drawing back the heavy, dark curtain of winter and letting the sun shine in. I had more than a few people comment on how fantastic it was to have daylight into the evening. Because light is better than darkness. Right?
In the Easter scripture readings, we find the theme of darkness woven into the Passion story. The Gospel of John states that Judas came to the garden with soldiers who carried lanterns and torches. Judas betrayed Jesus in a garden in the dark. As Jesus was brought before the high priest, Peter watched, lurking in the shadows. In a dark courtyard, as he warmed himself by a fire, Peter denied Jesus three times.
When the crucifixion was complete and Jesus had handed over his spirit, his followers took his body, bound it in burial cloths, and laid it in a new tomb, hewn from a rock. To keep the body safe, they then sealed the tomb by rolling a huge stone over the opening. Imagine it. Would it not have been the ultimate experience of darkness?
Many religions celebrate Easter with a traditional sunrise service, according to the Gospel of John, “On the first day of the week, Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb.” It was still dark – Easter had happened in the dark! God’s explosion of love for us happened in the dark! Jesus was resurrected in the dark!
And the stone was removed. Christians believe that Jesus gained eternal life for us through his death and resurrection. Through the resurrection, we are healed. Through this unselfish act of love, the stone was removed.
Are there stones in your life that keep you from experiencing God’s love? Are you crushed by the stone of illness? Do you suffer in the darkness of addiction? Do you bear the burden of unemployment or financial difficulty? Is it the weight of guilt? Are their relationships that need to be healed? People to forgive? Whatever your stone is, Jesus rose in glory – in the dark – to bring light and healing and to remove the stones in our lives.
Alleluia! He is risen!
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