Easter’s Empty Tomb

The central core of the Easter message every year is an expected emptiness. The angel says to the women, “He is not here; for he has been raised.”

I know that most of us are grieving not being together this Holy Week and Easter Sunday. Our services for Maundy Thursday today and Good Friday tomorrow have been carefully created with our virtual congregation in mind. At sunrise on Easter morning the pastors will be flowering the cross (at safe distance from each other!) on behalf of the whole congregation, and at 10:00 a.m. a full Easter worship service will be celebrated virtually with an online bulletin, lovely liturgy, joyful hymns and special music. We invite you to view all these special worship services.

I also encourage you to remember that the resurrection of Jesus Christ did not begin with large gatherings of Christians accompanied by choirs, organ and brass ensembles rejoicing together. The joy of Easter began with an empty tomb, fearful women, disbelieving disciples and mere whispers of resurrection.

This is the Easter to ponder how our Christian faith is based not on what was, but on what was not there. Our Sanctuary and choir loft will be unoccupied, not in despair, but as testimony that lives are being saved by leaving our worship space empty… empty as Jesus’ own tomb because, “He is not here.”

The Risen Christ is not to be praised in the Sanctuary this weekend, because he is alive in your kitchen and living room, in hospital corridors and intensive care units, in ambulances and makeshift morgues, in our gardens and city streets, and among our distant relatives, friends and mission partners to the far reaches of the globe. While we cannot be together this Easter, let us rejoice in the presence of Christ wherever we are, binding us together in a unity of hope, peace, love, joy and praise!