Low in the grave He lay, Jesus my Savior,
Waiting the coming day, Jesus my Lord!
Robert Lowery, 1874
Musings on an Easter Perspective
The iconic Easter image is that of an empty, cave-like tomb that once contained the crucified body of Jesus.
Normally, we don’t associate tombs with energy or activity. We associate death with stillness, expressing it in figures of speech like “quiet as a tomb,” “dead silent,” or “deadlocked.” Once a body goes into a tomb, it doesn’t walk out. Even if it could, passage is blocked because the opening is sealed shut.
But the Easter tomb is anything but normal. The great stone that sealed its opening is freakishly out of place. Jesus is AWOL and the scene is abuzz with human activity and angelic energy. “He is not here; he has risen.” (Mat. 28:6; Mrk. 16:6; Luk. 24:6) The resurrection message of Easter isn’t one of static stillness, but of dynamic movement.
When I consider the parting of the Red Sea, another iconic image, I see obvious movement. In both the great Exodus and Easter, the impossible is made possible. Both are about passage from death to life. Both are about incredible power and activity.
When I consider grace, again I see movement. I see that God’s grace is a dynamic force acting with mankind through the great corridor of time. With God, we pass through history like a baby through the birth canal, learning to live with Him in increasing goodness and love.
In Mat. 17:20, I see that Jesus reminds us that even the tiniest faith moves mountains and that nothing is impossible for us. In God, we live and move and have our being (Act. 17:28).
Easter’s hope is God’s message through the ages: The impossible is occurring right in our midst—not just for Jesus, but for everyone. The last immovable obstruction was rolled aside when he abolished Death to bring new life. Love for God, self, and one another is the transforming path we walk in the land of the living, not the dead, and in bold assurance, not fear of mistakes and guilt.
I see that at the moment of Jesus’ death, the curtain of the temple tore in two. The earth shook and rocks split. Tombs broke open and many people who had died were raised to life and came out of their tombs (Mat. 27:51-53).
Even Psalm 23 speaks of it. Although we walk through the valley of the shadow of Death, the same Jesus who rose now holds it back like thick, dark drapes; like massive walls of water. We need not fear that evil might seal our doom because with him, passage is safe, open, and full of possibility.
The Lord of life is the first-fruit. In following him, renewal of the mind and spiritual resurrection precedes the physical version. I didn’t see it before, but God’s plan makes sense in a long view of dynamic movement, even if it seems to me to happen at a glacier’s pace. Easter is the joyful proof that Love’s power always has, and continues to move among us.
Sunday’s a comin’