Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. – John 20:1

Easter does not begin in the light of the day.
not in the brightness of sunrise,
not in the yellow of chicks and flowers and company and trumpet blast.

Easter begins in the tombs, in the dirt, in the night
where shadow and shame and deceit and death
seem to have their sway.
Easter begins early, while it is still dark.

Early, she rises to tend another dying patient.
While it is still dark, he crosses over.
Early, while it is still dark, they send the sickest ones home.
Early, she loses her job.
While it is still dark, he loses his temper.
Early, while it is still dark, they hide the truth.
Early, she takes another drink.
While it is still dark, he takes his own life.
Early, while it is still dark, the earth groans, choked with poison.

Early, while it is still dark, she comes to the tomb
Expecting death and decay, grave, stench and sting, disappointment
But there in the darkness, in the pain, in the longing, in the despair, in the death,
She finds her life. In our savior. Jesus Christ.
Rising.
Calling our names.
Bringing light.
Bringing hope.
Bringing us life.
Raising us up.

No government can defeat him.
No religion can silence him.
No grave can hold him.
And there is nowhere he won’t go for you.
And nowhere you can go where he hasn’t been.
He is risen.
He is risen.
He is risen.
Hallelujah.

A reflection by Pastor Louise Johnson,
LEAD-Director of Leadership Development