Here I sit on Easter morning. Waiting, with expectation and reflection. I am remembering the events of the past days. I am reflecting on the event behind the day.
Yesterday I spent most if the day with my father in law. I enjoyed watching him prepare his heart and mind for today. It is something I admire about him. The way he is so thoughtful and mindful of others. He is tenderhearted and sincere. That same thing passed on to my husband, one of the first things I remember thinking of him when I met him. I see it now in my oldest daughter as well. I had a nice time with him. It helped prepare my mind for today in an unexpected way as well.
I accompanied him to the cemetery to visit 2 loved ones. My husbands cousin Marek, a Missionary in Tunisia who was killed there last year. The other grave we visited was the Uncle of my father in law, I believe he died in the war.
I realized while we ere there that I had never experienced this before. I have never set out into a cemetery with the intent of stopping at the grave of someone I knew. In this case, I still never personally met either of them. Even so I was there with my father in law to acknowledge that they had lived and impacted his life. The tragic death of Marek impacted mine as well, but I had nothing to remember by visiting him. So I watched.
I watched as my father in law waited in line to buy candles, as he removed the old ones and replaced them with the new and cleaned up everything that was out of place. I watched him stop to survey that everything was gone, close his eyes and fill his mind with memories. I only guess that is what he was doing, we never talked about it but he was tearful, thoughtful and silent. Then I listened as he came near to me and called his brother. He said "Brother I am standing here with your son, my daughter in law and my youngest grandchild." He proceeded to tell him about the weather, the condition of the grave and all he had done. Then he wished him a Happy Easter and announced that we were moving on to their uncle.
He did the exact same at the site of his uncles grave. There were others around who clearly had not been visited in a while. The grave next to his uncle was dirty and the candle was old and gone. He placed a new one there and commented to me how he didn't think anyone was coming to visit that grave. Then he called his cousin and said just as he had before, I am here with my daughter in law and youngest grandchild.
All the while I was thinking and looking around. As far as the eye could see in every direction there were graves. The people that were there to visit were like ants or busy bees. It was so crowded that we had to park far away in a park and walk to the cemetery. There were people all over cleaning, and bringing order back to the graves of their loved ones. I watched them walk in and out with their buckets of water, rags, brushes etc. I saw whole family groups gathered around. Most everyone had a bag of something they were bringing to the grave. I kept thinking, what are they doing and why?
Then it hit me, this is exactly what the women were planning to do that day they went to the grave to visit Jesus. They wanted to take care of his resting place, they wanted to do what they could to remember. They wanted to show their love by coming back. In Luke it tells us that the women were headed to the tomb with spices. They were going to take care of him. With as much energy and love as the people I was watching. That is what they wanted to do.
God had something else in mind. Something greater. They wanted to show their love for him, and what happened was the realization of the ultimate expression of love. The grave was powerless a meaningless place with no power over him in death. He was alive, he had risen. The original language for what we see translated as risen means made to rise. How powerful is that. Free from the chains of death and all he endured and suffered during his time here on earth. The yoke he took from us lay broken on the ground. That is it the good news. That is what we celebrate today.
As I sat in my father in laws car leaving the cemetery out of no where a red kite shot up into the gray sky and made a figure 8. I chuckled to myself and thought. Don't look for me here. Luke 24:5-6 ringing in my ear. I thought it was the perfect end to the experience.
Wishing you all a blessed Easter!