Michael Smith ~ Staring into Loss: The Tomb
Did you get enough love, my little dove
Why do you cry?
And I’m sorry I left, but it was for the best
Though it never felt right
My little Versailles
The hospital asked should the body be cast
Before I say goodbye, my star in the sky
Such a funny thought to wrap you up in cloth
Do you find it all right, my dragonfly?
Shall we look at the moon, my little loon
Why do you cry?
Make the most of your life, while it is rife
While it is light
Well you do enough talk
My little hawk, why do you cry?
Tell me what did you learn from the Tillamook burn?
Or the Fourth of July?
We’re all gonna die – Fourth of July, Sufjan Stevens
It was early in the morning of what we now know as Easter, and Mary awoke to look at the tomb. Matthew tells us that they “came to look at the tomb” (Matthew 28:1). What were they going to see? As those who stand on this side of Easter we make assumptions, and it’s difficult to truly understand what they were going to see or do there, but we understand why they went.
How long do you need to stand and stare at the tomb?
For some reason they just wanted to see it. They couldn’t even see him, for a large stone had been placed to seal the tomb shut. They were going to just look at the tomb. Even more, they couldn’t have a moment of peace to themselves because guards were put on watch. Would the guards be respectful of the mourners as they came or were they given instructions to chase them off? Were they given orders to make a note of who came to visit the tomb so that those people could be placed on some kind of governmental “watch list”? Mary came to look.
Before they were able to look at the tomb, it changed. Their lives and the world changed. There was no time to look, for they were called to go and tell, to be witnesses. The stone was rolled away, the tomb was empty, and the resurrected Jesus did not give them time to mourn any longer.
Now that light has dawned, one cannot simply stand and look at a symbol of defeat and the past. New life has broken in and we are not allowed to just look; we are invited and commissioned to go and tell.
Sometimes I still want to look. In the early morning I want to go and stare at that which once was.
As an Easter people we are only allowed a brief glimpse at this thing we know as death. Death is not something to be feared or stared at. It has been defeated, its sting lost and its grasp on us loosened. Don’t go to look at the tomb now. Go and tell the good news of the resurrection. Be witnesses.