Sunday, March 31, 2013

John 20:1–18

Over the past 18 years my image of Easter has undergone a night-and-day change. I don’t mean metaphorically; I mean that in my mind’s eye Easter unfolds not in the daytime or at sunrise, but at night.

The curtain of darkness is described in John’s Gospel: Mary discovers the empty tomb “early . . . while it was still dark.” According to John, if one arrives for the sunrise service at the first Easter, it’s already too late. However we may think about the resurrection, John has it taking place under the cover of night.

This darkness creates a hole, a gap in the Easter story where the crucial event takes place. The Gospels are silent as Christ rises like a thief in the night. In John, no well-informed angels rushed in to explain the missing body. When angels finally did appear, they had no answers but only a question: “Woman, why are you weeping?” Mary had expected to find at least a corpse; instead she found a void, an opening in the darkness.


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