"He is risen, as He said!" On this Easter morning, we rejoice with all the saints and angels; Christ's victory over the grave is evidence of our hope in resurrection life. Our wild "Alleluias" and shouts of "Amen!" are our commitment to live eternally now. It is important for us to spend these eight days of Easter Sunday leaning into the truth of Jesus' invitation to "follow me". It is in our relationship with Christ, in our love for one another, in our willingness to walk with Him to Emmaus and return with the Spirit of the Risen Christ to our homes and families, to our neighborhoods, even to our enemies with the good news of salvation: "We have seen the Lord".
We will also notice that gathered near us, in the threshold of the empty tomb, will be brothers and sisters who have not yet recognized Him, neither in the breaking of the bread, in the relationship with us and each other, nor in the love we share. The scribes, the Pharisees, the Roman soldiers, the emperor, the despondent, the hard hearted; they will attempt to draw us out of the truth in the depths of the empty tomb and convince us that our hope is also empty. Then our first temptation may be to run out to them to proclaim our confidence in resurrection life... Not so fast.
This is not the time to debate in the threshold of the empty tomb. This is the time to enter more deeply into the darkness of the tomb itself, to remember how we arrived here. We prayed with Jesus in the Garden and again in Gethsemane; we walked through the desert and again on Calvary to Golgotha, we experiences the very anguish of Christ in our own suffering; we wrestled with doubt and fear, perhaps we shouted, "I do not know him," we stood and are yet standing at the foot of the Cross, with Mary at our side; as we witnessed Jesus' self-emptying love, we promised to take Mary into our hearts and to practice the same self-emptying love. It is only from that place of surrender that our eyes were ever opened. And now we recognize in the empty tomb the hope which is ours in the Risen Christ.
After eight days of constant Easter prayer, then after 40 days of resting in the story of our salvation; we will be ready, at Pentecost, to give eloquent, living, loving witness to resurrection life; not only because we believe Jesus is risen from the dead, but because we know in our bones that we, too, are risen from the dead.
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.