Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and found the stone had been rolled away from the tomb. John 20:1
I’ve just returned from a week of spring break, a few days of it spent on the Atlantic coast. I am not a bake-in-the-sun person, but I do love the ocean. I took long jogs by the beach and longer walks on the beach. I ate breakfast on an outdoor bench overlooking the shoreline, and lunch under a beach umbrella. I watched fishing boats, looked for dolphins and closed my eyes just to take in the sounds of the sea.
As the waves (gentle this week) hit the shore, it seemed to me as though the earth was breathing. In and out. For hundreds of millions of years.
The day I caught a plane home, I got up early for one last stroll on the seashore. The sun was still a half hour below the horizon, but I walked until I found a rock where I could sit to watch the sunrise and hear the even breath of the incoming tide. As the world’s light increased around me, and the sun broke into the space where sky meets water, I was stunned anew by the beauty of it, by this simple miracle we call a new day.
This week Christians around the world will turn their hearts to resurrection. Any explanation of this central experience of our faith falls flat; any attempt to describe it is unacceptably shallow. It would be easier to explain the breath of the waves, or to count the sunrises since the beginning of earth time.
We do better to remember the grieving woman who went to a tomb and was stunned by what she saw. The moment we try to tame resurrection and turn it into a doctrinal point is the moment we drain it of its ability to amaze and change us.
Like a sunrise on the beach, the resurrection is difficult to gaze upon, because of its brightness. And like that sunrise, it is even harder to turn away from it than it is to look directly at it, because of its captivating beauty.
As I turned from the sun to catch my plane back to real life, I remembered how the woman turned from the tomb to go home. But the stunning splendor of it all imbues us with a sense of strength and hope and longing. We may not even begin to understand it, but we spend a lifetime trying to embody its power, which rises again in us each new day.
© Melissa Bane Sevier, 2011