Empty

Scripture selection: Luke 24:1

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!”

After the waiting – the weeping, the hushed discussions tinged with fear of what was to come – it happened.  Going to the tomb they found it just as He had said they would – empty.

They didn’t understand.  They couldn’t fully comprehend the wonderfully good news of it – not yet.

Angels had to appear to them and say, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen!”

Even then, they couldn’t believe it or understand it.

Resurrection had changed their lives forever.

Resurrection has changed our lives forever.

The tomb was empty.  The tomb is empty.

What they thought was the end was only the beginning.

Every year, as the great celebration of Easter approaches, we remember and re-experience this ancient story with all its drama; all the bad news; all the good news – we go through it all once more.

Even with two-thousand years of history for us to look back upon, the story still amazes and we, like those first ones at the tomb, sometimes fail to grasp the full meaning of it all.

Perhaps that is as it should be.

We should never take it for granted; never believe we know all there is to know about it.

We should always be willing to fall to the ground in awe and hear those angelic words once again, in fresh new ways.

“Why do you seek the living among the dead?  He is not here; he has risen!”

The tomb is empty.

The story – the gospel story – is as fresh and important today as it was two thousand years ago.

Thanks be to God.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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