Saturday, 23 April 2011

A meditation for Easter Day

They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,
and we do not know where they have laid him.

With an economy of words but with consummate skill, John the Evangelist evokes the dawn hours and the atmosphere of that first Easter morning. Mary Magdalene on reaching the tomb found it empty. In haste, she summons Peter and the Beloved disciple who hurry to the tomb. We are not given any information as to their emotions or state of mind, and can only infer how they must have felt. The Evangelist adds the curious detail that the other disciple outran Peter on the way to the tomb. Was he therefore much younger? He reached the tomb first but did not enter. Again, may we surmise that this was out of deference to Peter?

When the two apostles entered the tomb they found it empty and, intriguingly but without explanation, found the cloth which had covered the Lord’s face placed separately by itself. The Evangelist remarks that the Beloved Disciple on witnessing the scene of the empty tomb now came to realise the truth foretold in the Scriptures of Israel that the Messiah would rise from the dead. It was only in the light of the empty tomb that the Scriptures now made sense. The story that was Easter morning made all the difference.

Alleluia! Christ is risen. Alleluia!

Text from You Will Be My Witnesses by Bishop Michael Campbell OSA published by ST PAULS
Illustration: The Resurrection  - icon by Aidan Hart, featured on the cover of Bishop Campbell's book.