“Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” Mark 16:6,7
This weekend packed a punch. Several of my friends and/or their children were celebrating birthdays. Friends were burying friends. Family and neighbors were grieving loss. And in the midst of it all, we celebrated the defeat of death, the risen Christ, the renewed life, on Easter Sunday.
In Pastor’s sermon this Easter Sunday, he pointed out that the day began with tears and then moved to fear. (His message inspired this devotion. Listen to it here.) The grieving women went to the tomb with their tears and their traditions. I think of my friends who have suffered loss so recently. I can see the women, walking arm in arm, comforting each other as they walk down the road. I know how important it is for those who mourn to feel like they have a task to attend to. It had to be comforting for these women too, to make their way to the gravesite, on a mission.
But nothing was as they expected when they arrived. And after being addressed by an angel, the women were afraid. Trumping their tears, was fear. Throwing them off, stifling their expectations, confusing the norm. They left – afraid.
How do we leave the tomb? How do we move forward from this weekend? Does fear grip your heart as you consider life without a friend? Does denial ensue when you realize the age of your growing children? Do your expectations for this next week include feeling overwhelmed by your long to-do list?
Fear is a very real part of our lives. Whether it is something small, or something big - It can paralyze us. The women who went to the tomb to carry-out their duties and their grief, found plenty of things to fear that day. But we don’t have to live life this way. We can live our lives with a boldness that only an empty tomb can provide. We can approach our day with a boldness fitting the reality that a risen Savior brings. We can begin our week, leaving our fears AT the empty tomb, and embracing the bold renewed LIFE that is gifted to us.
Praise the Lord, that in the midst of it all – all that we have going on in our lives right now – we can lay our sadness and our fears down at the tomb, and leave with a bold assurance of eternal life and a merciful God. A merciful God who comforts us, encourages us, empowers us, and inspires us to do the work that He has for us to do.
Thank you, Lord. Embolden me with the confidence of the cross. Amen.