“. . . ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He isn’t here, but has been raised. Remember what he told you while he was still in Galilee, that he must be handed over to sinners, be crucified, and on the third day rise again. Then they remembered his words.” Luke 24:5b-8 (CEB)
This year, I chose the Luke 24:1-12 passage to use as the basis for my sermon on Easter Sunday. The verse that kept popping up at me was “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” As I reflected on this, I wondered how many times we really do look for the living in dead places.
Maybe there is a tradition in our churches that is really a dead place and no longer excites people or has been meaningful for many years, yet, we continue to do it over and over again. Maybe there is a bad habit that tears us down and makes us sick or affects our health. I know how hard it is to break unhealthy habits!
Or perhaps we are caught in a dead-end job or a bad relationship. There are any number of things that are really “deadwood” in our lives, things that are dead zones – maybe even like the tombs of our lives. Do we keep going back to them expecting to find something new – something with life in it?
The women went to the tomb expecting to find Jesus’ dead body, and instead they found an empty tomb. He was no longer there. He had been raised. What’s more, he had TOLD them this would happen.
Sometimes in grief, we forget things that our loved ones have told us, but as we move forward, we often begin to remember more and more of the positive qualities. For some people, if the relationship was not healthy, the good memories may not appear, but for many of us, we begin to see the love and joy that the relationship brought us. We can hold onto the gifts we were given in the relationship.
For the women at the tomb that morning, the experience of hearing that Jesus was alive was one of great joy and excitement. They ran to tell the disciples. In Luke they did not encounter Jesus, but they took the word of the two divine beings at the tomb. It would only be later that everyone would encounter the risen Christ.
Maybe a good habit to start is to begin clearing out the deadwood, to stop looking in the tombs of our lives, to turn away from wishing things could be like they used to be and to find the blessing in the life we are in.
Where are your tombs?
How will you turn toward life?