John and Peter at the Tomb

“Then the disciple who had arrived first at the tomb went in.  He saw and believed.”

On this Easter Sunday morning let each of us imagine ourselves among those who visited the tomb.  Each one of us with our own history, our own perspective in life, our failures and fears.  How do you approach the tomb?  With the devotion of Mary Magdalene, the timidity of John, or the bluster of Peter?  As you peer into the empty tomb what fills your being?

I tend by nature to be melancholy. I’m most happy being sad.  The Meyers-Briggs Indicator types me as an INTJ, which some say is the worst to be – you simply always feel awful about everything.  That’s me.  I see life not through rose colored but through gray colored glasses.  If there is something negative in an otherwise beautiful situation, that is where I will place my focus.  The world can seem so dark to me that eastern philosophy with its emphasis on a balance of good and evil in the universe is an encouraging way of thinking.

But the good news of the empty tomb is that good and evil are not in balance.  The Gospel message is that no matter how darkly I may perceive reality, ultimate reality is a shining good.  Death is conquered.  The grave is swallowed up in victory.  Christ arose!  And I too am risen with him.  I am seated with Christ in the heavenlies.

And so as I leave the empty tomb I am filled with a new perspective.  It’s not that I don’t continue to see the evil and to point out the negative.  Being risen with Christ has not made me an optimist.  There is indeed evil in the world.  There are great injustices.  There is a lack of peace.  However, now when I see the evil, I also see the potential for change.  When I point out the negative, it is with the hope that a seed of positive new life will be planted.  When I fear the darkness, I also sense the truth and comfort of being hidden in Christ.  How can evil find and destroy me when, as I am hidden with  Christ in God,  it can neither see or get to me?

The empty tomb changes each of us if we will go and gaze into it.  The evil in our life is overcome by the glorious good of Christ.  Mary Magdalene, who in the darkness of night had seen too many men, was the first in the light of morning to see and touch her Savior Jesus.  Peter, who had denied Jesus with cursing, stood boldly to proclaim him.  And fearful John sang with joyful courage in a vat of boiling oil and laughed at death’s inability to conquer him.

And you, what is your story on this glad morning?

Easter Sunday
Acts 10:34-43; Col. 3:1-4; Jn. 20:1-9

Peace Connections: Making the connection between the Sunday Readings and issues of peace and justice. Copyright 1995, by Thomas L. Garlitz. “Not for profit” permission to reprint granted.

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