I think most people reading these thoughts will have experienced loss. Be it a friend, a family member, a pet, the loss of someone close is not a trivial thing: we mourn. Mourning isn’t something we humans alone do; our pets mourn too. The film “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale” is a beautiful film, and even the strongest, manliest man will have a ‘bit of dust’ in their eye – it’s not tears, honest – throughout the film. A film which recounts the true story of the dog Hachikō, a dog so loyal to his master that upon the death of his master, the dog would continue to wait over nine years for him, until the dog himself sadly passed away.
There’s a lesson here as well; we mourn, but sadly, we must move on – life moves on, even though we’ve lost someone, or something so precious to us.
It was early that first Easter morning that two women approached a tomb. Despite an arid climate, the early hours of the day would see a morning moist with dew. A chill in the cool air of early spring would reflect the chill in their hearts, as they approached the final resting place of their friend and mentor. The sun crept slowly over the mountains before spilling its light over the rolling desert hills of Palestine. For the small band of women making their way to the tomb of Jesus, hope was in short supply.
Their spirits had been crushed: they were discouraged, disheartened, and defeated. What they wanted more than anything else was to see Jesus one last time, to honour Him by anointing his body with spices and perfumes. But as they walked that lonely path to the tomb, it suddenly dawned on them: who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?
Two of these women, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, had seen where the body had been placed and knew that a huge stone had been rolled across the entrance to the tomb. As they approached, they must have wondered how they’d be able to express their love and show their final respects, with their path at the very end blocked.
After the sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.
As people facing loss, we know that we need to let go, to move on – to grieve, but continue. However, what these women discovered is that the resurrection is God’s ‘‘yes’’ to the world’s ‘‘no.’’ The world says ‘‘no’’ we can’t live forever: but the resurrection says ‘‘yes’’ we can. The world says ‘‘no’’ we can’t live optimistically and victoriously with hope: the resurrection says ‘‘yes’’ we can – we now have the promise of a bright future, we can look on with enthusiasm.
The resurrection shouts of the reality that God has the capacity to correct life’s inequities. When our world seems lost in vicious violence and is subject to outbursts of hatred and bigotry, then the assurance offered by the resurrection says there is hope.
But each of us was given grace according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
What a gift, to know that we have a God who loves us so much, he’d bridge the gap we cleave before our creator, so he can meet us on our terms. What a gift, a gift of grace, that we have in Jesus the promise of a better life. What a gift that, in Jesus, we have the promise of an eternal life.