Christ is Risen! He is Risen, indeed! Alleluia!
Christian communities across the globe greet one another this way each Easter. Not just Easter morning, but all through the season of Easter. With joy and amazement, we announce the resurrection and affirm it. As worship services begin through all seven weeks of Easter, these words will ring out, reminding each other of miracle that Jesus is risen from the dead, and all that it means for us and for creation.
As I read again Mark’s account of Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome going to the tomb on that first Easter morning, I feel compassion for them. The teacher they have been following has been executed; the one all his followers have begun to believe is sent by God to save the people of Israel from oppression and bring God-guided rule to their land is gone. He wasn’t even given a proper burial. While they can’t undo all that led to his horrible death, they can go to the tomb and anoint his lifeless body. What they find is so unexpected, so unbelievable, so world-changing, that they flee in “terror and amazement” and say nothing.
I can hardly blame them. There are plenty of times that surprise and fear leave me silent in much less remarkable situations. Sometimes we don’t have the words or the courage to speak out. The reading for Easter Sunday ends with the women telling no one, but as we will find in the coming weeks, Jesus will keep showing up and confirming the unbelievable story told by the young man in white robes in the tomb. He is Risen. Death does not have the final victory. Even when we are too overwhelmed to speak out, resurrection and new life are transforming the world.
Happy Easter, my friends!