The women left while it was still dark, walking in silence with slow but determined steps. Their faces were pale and drawn; their eyes were swollen and scratchy after two nights of sleepless tears. They had a task to perform, a hard task, but one born of love. They carried spices and oils for anointing, fresh cloths for wrapping and they set out for the garden tomb where their friend, their Master, their Lord had been hurriedly placed just as the Sabbath began on Friday. There had not been time for the burial rituals, the loving care to be taken of the broken body and so they went now to lay him to rest with love and tender care. They arrived at the garden just as the light was beginning to dawn. A few birds began to greet the morning with their songs as they rounded the corner and lifted their eyes to the tomb. The large stone that sealed the entrance was rolled away and the tomb lay opened to the morning light. At first, they stopped at the sight, then their steps hurried closer. What could it mean? Did others come for this same task of anointing? Stooping to enter, they realized that the tomb was empty. The cloths that had bound Jesus were there, but his body was gone. Who would have done this latest act of cruelty? Who would have stolen his body? Even in death, they could not leave him in peace. Suddenly, some men appeared in dazzling white garments. “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, for he has risen as he said.” In that moment, the earth shifted on its axis and human life and human history would never be the same. In that first dawning realization of Resurrection, everything lost was found, everything broken was made whole, all the death that ever was, was swallowed up in life, all the grief and pain and sorrow of the world and of their lives was redeemed.
The details vary, depending on which gospel you read. But the details seemed to matter little to those writers of this most extraordinary story. What mattered was just this: the unbridled joy, the breathless wonder, the miracle of light from darkness, of life from death, of hope that can never be destroyed by the pain and grief of the world. What mattered was this enduring truth: Love wins. Even over death, Love wins.
Wherever you are today, whatever pain or grief you may carry, whatever darkness may surround you, this day beckons you to lift up your eyes and look, for your salvation has risen and bids you rise as well. Whatever death you may have known or may know in the future, whatever deep grief you carry over love lost, this day reminds you, to use the words of Dylan Thomas: “Though lovers be lost, love shall not. And death shall have no dominion.” On that first Easter day, and for every day since, death has had no dominion. “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, for he is risen as he said.” Embrace joy, embrace wonder, embrace hope. Live this truth: Love wins. Always. Happy Easter.