When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
I wonder what the three women experienced as they walked toward the tomb of the one they so deeply loved. Heartache? Shock? Disbelief? Unrelenting grief? Were they stoic, determined to make the best of it, to do the tasks prescribed and move on?
And when they discovered that the tomb was empty, and that this young man in white was sitting next to the tomb, telling them their beloved had been raised from death, I wonder what they feared most. Would they be blamed? What could this mean? If he wasn't in the tomb, then where was he?
This morning, a friend of mine from theology school quoted Henri Nouwen, one of the gentlest voices of Christian spirituality from the twentieth century: "The resurrection is God’s way of revealing to us that nothing that belongs to God will ever go to waste. What belongs to God will never get lost."
In moments when my faith is strained to its limits, how strong is my belief that what belongs to God will never get lost?