Yes! It’s Empty!
April 4, 2015
by Tim Schenck
Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Let’s face it, we’re generally not very big on emptiness. No one comes bounding down the stairs on Christmas morning in hopes of finding an empty stocking. An empty gas tank literally gets you nowhere. No one likes empty promises. And even an empty net goal is the most anticlimactic play in all of hockey. So emptiness isn’t usually something to get excited about.
Unless it’s Easter morning.
Because in the empty tomb we encounter the miracle of our faith: that after three agonizing days, Christ has been raised from the dead. And in that moment, everything changes. Our burdens are released; our sins are forgiven; our lives are redeemed; and death is conquered once and for all.
But it all starts with that initial discovery that Jesus was no longer held by his earthly prison — that the tomb was empty.
Of course the whole notion that someone who had died was not to be found in his tomb is absurd. Something that makes about as much intuitive sense as an emptiness that satisfies.
But that’s the nature of Christ’s kingdom. It is a place where all our preconceived notions get flipped upside down; a place that makes no sense from a human perspective. A place where a king is born in a stable rather than a palace; where the last shall be first and the first shall be last; where enemies are loved rather than hated; and where the false boundaries that separate us one from another are breached. A place where darkness becomes light; grief becomes joy; death becomes life; emptiness becomes fulfillment.
The beauty of the Christian faith is that when the sugar high wears off, when the Peeps have become stale (which can take years), when the organ has been powered down, when brunch is over, when the euphoria of Easter Day subsides, we’re left not with emptiness, not with a great void but with something that abides. Something that endures. Something that transcends the transitory, fleeting nature of life – and that is our relationship with the risen Christ.
Never has something so empty been so fulfilling.
How will you extend the joy this Eastertide? You may have been intentional about a Lenten discipline. How about seeking an Easter discipline that brings you joy? (hint: engaging daily with 50 Days of Fabulous is a good start!). Don’t forget, the root of the word “discipline” is “disciple.” Be an Easter disciple!
Another year, another chance. Resurrection and new life and new attempts at living for the love of all.
Starts again, a little wiser and a little more full of mistakes and a little more hopeful of the spiral taking me, and us all, one turn higher.
Yes, this is a joyful day and one that will bring happiness to all of us who know that Jesus Christ is Risen Today!!!! Looking forward to the 50 days of fabulous as much as I did Lent Madness. Praise the Lord.
Taking on a discipline of joy seems like the perfect counterpoint to Lent disciplines. And I could also stand to “give up” some habits that undermine joy. Happy Easter to all.
Earlier in Holy week we had a Healing Mass with the opportunity to write our most grievous burdens on paper, which were burned in the new Fire at the Vigil on Saturday Night. This is a wonderful reminder to be mindful of what I wrote, and to take positive steps to make amends and to turn those burdens inside out!