On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of The Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with 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; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”Then they remembered His Words.”
Luke 24: 1-8
It has been a difficult couple of weeks and months in our world. Beginning with a virus whose name sounds like a brand of beer, traditional school, sports, festivals, and so many happy activities being cancelled for a quarter of the year and beyond, and now the current civil unrest across the country, challenges have been around every corner. Having buried my father and my brother and given eulogies at both of their funerals, yesterday’s memorial service for George Floyd and the obvious pain being shared by his family was particularly difficult to watch. Any political or societal overtones aside, the pain and true sadness in that room was genuinely moving for me. Pain, disappointment, and sadness around every corner!
Then along comes good, better, and uplifting news! The corona virus test positivity rate seems to be heading in the right direction across much of the state. Face to face graduation is going to occur for our seniors on July 12. The next school year is looking more and more likely to open up in a fairly normal manner. Today’s economic, jobless, and unemployment report for the month of May came out with numbers that exceeded all expectations. More people are going back to work and the market is soaring. AND, the Milwaukee Bucks are going to get to play for a championship this year as the season resumes at the end of July! Lots of good news here! Truly magnified by the darkness of the news cycles of late, for sure!
This is the point for us as the forgiven and redeemed children of The Lord! The headlines being full of great news or the most negative of challenges does nothing to change The Truth! “The Tomb is still Empty!” Unrest, unemployment, and the unfairness of everything related to life in the pandemic, are all satisfied in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ!
From Luke’s Gospel account, “On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of The Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this….” These women, running to care for and prepare Christ’s body, find the tomb empty and they wonder. In their wonder, did they doubt? In their doubt, did they worry? In their worry, did they sadly stress? If these women were anything like the rest of humanity these would all be completely normal responses to their life circumstance. Sound familiar? It sure does to me! Wonder, worry, doubt, sadness, and stress have all been in the air around us all for what feels like a very long time!
In to this space comes the heavenly, reminding voices of the “two men,” angels of peace. “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”Then they remembered His Words.” Life is not found in the emptiness of anything this earthly life can ever give us. This life can ultimately only give us death. Like the women at the tomb, especially in these times of challenge and change, we need to be less than subtly reminded that “on that glorious third day, He rose again!” We need always to “remember His Words!”
The Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is the ultimate promise keeper. Do we remember? In the good times, do we remember? In the bad times, do we remember? This call to remembrance is also a call to repentance. Confess our sinful need for forgiveness and receive His Sweet and Soothing Gospel Message! This is where our hope, peace, and contentment are truly found! As we bury loved ones, the pain is real and so is the Truth of Heaven! As we walk in financial and societal challenge, we wait in peaceful perseverance knowing that hope is ours in Jesus! “And hope never disappoints!” As we exhale in the coming optimism of better days for our nation, we do so with thankful hearts that “all good things are gifts from above!”
My prayer for myself, my family, and for each of you, is that today we hear anew The Truth as heard by the women at the tomb. And, that as we walk through these days, in these times, and in these places navigating what lies ahead, we do so never “looking for life, forgiveness, healing, and hope among the dead things of this world, but do so prayerfully and humbly with The Lord!” We needn’t look anywhere else! “The Tomb is still Empty! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!”