In his book, There I Go Again, Steven Moseley tells about Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballet superstar of the early 1900’s. Ms. Pavlova has been acclaimed as the greatest ballerina of all time. However, her most memorable performance took place after her death. Anna was to play the role she made famous, the Dying Swan, at the Apollo Theatre in London. Tragically, she succumbed to pneumonia and died two days before the event. Still, on the appointed night, a crowd of her fans packed the Apollo Theatre. The orchestra began playing, the curtain rose, a spotlight flashed through the dark, and the entire audience rose to its feet. They all stood gazing at a pool of light wandering around the stage, accompanied by the orchestral theme. As the light danced and the orchestra played, they remembered Anna Pavlova. In their hearts they could see her on stage, dressed in white with flashing dark eyes. And when the music stopped at last, they gave the vanished Anna a thunderous ovation that echoed on and on in the night. An empty stage with only a spotlight, but in their hearts she was alive.
For some people, this is the experience of Easter. Jesus was crucified, he died as all of us will one day die, and he was laid in a borrowed tomb, but in the hearts of his disciples he lives forever. For Jesus’ followers the resurrection is what gives them hope in the difficult and challenging situations that life brings. The resurrection of Jesus comes as a sign of contradiction against the forces of death and destruction. The resurrection says that death and destruction do not have the last say. The resurrection says that life and renewal of life are what Easter is all about. The resurrection enables us to see the worth and sacredness of the “other” and all of creation. It enables us to affirm that nothing is impossible for and with God. What great news this is for us and all of creation that no matter how bleak our situation or the situation of loved ones or the world’s situation may be, faith in God and in the power of resurrection gives us hope that nothing is impossible for God. It is with joy that we celebrate on Easter Sunday morning and every Sunday the resurrection of Jesus and it is with thanks that as Christians we celebrate an empty tomb and not just an empty stage.
May you be blessed as you celebrate the Christ of the empty tomb!
Rev. Mary Jo