He Is Not Here!

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay."
~Matthew 28:6

Each spring, I'm reminded of my amazing friend Kate, who has sadly left Texas and is now living in Arizona. I recall her once telling me that Easter is, in her estimation, the most blessed and meaningful occasion of the year. It is a time for fresh starts, new beginnings, and a chance to celebrate the wonder of the resurrection, or what Henry Morris calls "the crowning proof of Christianity." Kate attends Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services, fully immersing herself in the pain and sorrow that are so much a part of the Easter experience. But then, on Sunday, she rushes to church, ready to rejoice in the glorious truth that Easter brings: He is not here! He is risen!

The story is told of British minister W. E. Sangster, who fell victim to an incurable muscle disease that eventually took his life. Despite the grim reality of his situation, Sangster continued to tirelessly serve those less fortunate than he, both in and beyond his community. In time, Sangster's legs became useless, and he lost his ability to speak. And though he could still hold a pen and write, his movements were unsteady and unsure. One Easter morning just weeks before his death, Sangster painstakingly penned a letter to his daughter, saying, "It is terrible to wake up on Easter morning and have no voice to shout, 'He is risen!' - but it would be still more terrible to have a voice and not want to shout."

This Easter, I'll be holding my dear Kate close in my heart, and I will remember anew that most excellent day, when our gracious Lord conquered death so that we might live. And I will respond to that saving act of love by raising my voice and shouting, "He is risen, indeed!" then following and serving Him until my time on this earth is complete.