The seasonal items aisle in the grocery store is a work in progress. Stuffed bunnies are being replaced by garden gnomes. Cans of sunscreen will soon inhabit the shelves that displayed egg-coloring kits a few days ago.
Easter is over.
Well, not completely. Boxes of purple and yellow Peeps are stacked on clearance tables in the middle of the aisle. Chocolate rabbits are available for half-price.
And tombs are being emptied.
The empty tomb that many celebrated on Sunday isn’t a one-day thing. It‘s an endless process that involves each of us.
We can interpret resurrection as something that one person experienced 2,000 years ago after getting buried in a tomb. Or we might see it as something we’ll experience after we die. But there’s more to it.
We all have our tombs. And ours are empty, too.
How many times in life do we get buried? Buried by others? Buried by ourselves? We feel like we’re stuck in a confining, dark place with a giant stone rolled across the opening.
We carve our tombs out of narrow-mindedness and self-centeredness. Our many addictions — to drugs, alcohol, power, praise, privilege, prestige, wealth, self-importance — take us to dank, cold places.
We erect gates around our communities. We build walls against those who need us. And those gates and walls become tomb stones that isolate us from others and leave us in a darkness.
We die in ways big and small throughout our lives. All of us get to know the tomb very well. It sometimes feels like there’s no escape, like we’ve reached some final resting place.
Yet, here we are. Alive. Unburied.
We know resurrection, too.
Nadia Bolz-Weber describes a God who keeps “reaching down into the dirt of humanity and resurrecting us from the graves we dig for ourselves through our violence, our lies, our selfishness, our arrogance, and our addictions. And God keeps loving us back to life over and over.”
That’s the thing about tombs. There’s always a way out of them. And there’s always Someone working passionately to get us out, no matter how big the stone.
The stone gets rolled away. The tomb gets emptied.
Again and again.