But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in, they did not find the body. 4 While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. 5 The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. 6 Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” 8 Then they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened. Luke 24:1-12
Christ is risen, He is risen, indeed!
The angels said, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?
He is not here, He is risen”
The tomb is empty. This is the great Easter surprise and joy.
To celebrate this Good news, our congregation brought brightly coloured plastic eggs to church, filled with symbols of new life. We exchanged eggs and then opened them to find wonderful symbols for Easter. A stone, symbolizing the stone rolled away from the tomb, a frog, dragonfly and butterfly that experience metamorphosis; seeds, bulbs, new sprouting plants, even some chocolate chicks and eggs.
One young fellow was unusually quiet at the front of the church and so I asked him what he found in his egg and he replied – “nothing. There was nothing in my egg.”
My first thought was to apologize. Sorry, that egg is a dud- a mistake, but then I thought…
It is an empty egg – You have the best symbol of new life – an empty egg. You have the symbol of the empty tomb. The women and disciples discovered the empty tomb on Easter morning and that is why we celebrate. “Jesus is not here, He is risen from the dead, Halleluiah.”
The youngster gave me a little smile and held onto his empty egg.
Later, concerned that he might be disappointed, I sought him out during fellowship time to give him another egg filled with little chocolate eggs. He looked at me a little surprised to receive a second egg.
As wonderful as symbols of new life like bunnies, chicks, butterflies, seeds sprouting are, it is hard for them to bear the full weight of the Easter miracle. The first Easter proclamation was a “nothing.” An empty tomb. And that is all that the women at the tomb reported, as the synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew and Luke) relate. He is not there.
The further witness of the women, of the 12 disciples, and of the “many” was that while the tomb may have been empty, Jesus was still present. One can hardly imagine the shift in their hearts from grief and pain to joy, from fear to courage and boldness, from doubt to trust and belief. It is upon this witness – the empty tomb, and the real presence of Jesus among them, that leads us to proclaim God’s great good news of New Life in Christ.
Christine and William Ball April 29, 2019
Mill Woods Presbyterian Church
Who knew? The empty plastic Easter egg did turn out to be the most significant of all.