My Facebook newsfeed is peppered with pictures of the empty tomb: stone rolled away, light bursting out … “He is Risen!”
Would that light look the same without the tomb?
That light, that resurrection light, is promised to me. But as I stand in the light of Easter week, I also see the tomb. I feel like Thomas, as he stood there in Christ’s resurrected presence, feeling the holes in his hands and side.
Without a death, there can be no resurrection.
St. Paul told the Corinthians that God himself shone the light of his glory into our hearts:
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies” (2 Cor 4:7-10, emphasis mine).
When my Grandma was dying of cancer, I would hear her crying at night in her bed. At first I thought she was in pain, and perhaps she was. But she was crying to Jesus for others in need.
One night it struck me: her body is an “earthen vessel.”
A clay pot, cracking under the stress of her disease.
And with every crack, another beam of light, the radiant light of Christ, burst out to illuminate the dark around her.
“Without a death, Honey,” she used to tell me, “there can be no resurrection.”
I want to be like that.
A Light Shines Through Your Cracks
Our bodies, our lives and circumstances, are fragile earthen vessels. We are, like Paul, “afflicted in every way.” But if we die with Christ, we will live with him!
And not only in the next life. He has poured his light into our hearts so that it will shine through us—even through our brokenness—to others.
Hear how St. Paul finishes that chapter (you might want to take time to read the whole thing, and meditate on it today):
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (verses 16-18).
He is Risen. Alleluia!