Easter Morning

Lorrain, Claude, 1600-1682. Easter Morning, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.

 

Early in the morning, the women discovered the unthinkable—the tomb was empty! Whether aided by earthquake or angels, the stone had rolled away leaving open to view the crypt where they had laid him. Had the stone moved to let him out or reveal that he had already departed?

 

Duccio, di Buoninsegna, d. 1319. Three Marys at the Tomb (top)

 

How does Jesus die and yet live? It is by the power of the Spirit of God. The breath of God accompanies the Son through death to life, stirring the Christ toward embodiment of resurrection life.

The Gospels narrate a flurry of activity as the women visit the tomb, hear the angelic commission to spread the word, and hurry to tell the men disciples, some who considered their testimony an “idle tale” or the foolishness of women. Amazing, isn’t it, that God entrusted them with the Best. News. Ever!

 

JESUS MAFA. Easter – Christ appears to Mary, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.

 

A few had believed he would rise again, but not yet. It would be at the end of history, at the last day. Surely that could not have occurred already, or had it?

Something unprecedented has shifted everything. The early preaching of Acts attests sparely:

“ . . . Jesus of Nazareth was sent to you with miracles, portents, and signs as his credentials—which God performed through him in your midst, as you well know. Jesus was delivered up by the set purpose and plan of God, you even made use of godless people to crucify and kill him. God freed him from death’s bitter pangs, however, and raised him up again, for it was impossible that death should keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:22-24).

 

He, Qi. The Risen Christ Appears, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.

 

Now death is behind him, and he opens the way to eternal life for all who believe. Death remains ahead of us, yet we trust that this last enemy has already been conquered. He has thrown the gates of hell ajar, and the doors of heaven open to receive him and all those he calls by name. Christ is risen; He is risen, indeed!

Molly T. Marshall