What You Can See Through Tears
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb.
Someone asked me whether Easter would be hard for me this year because of my mother’s recent death. I suppose it will be, but the truth is we always celebrate Easter in the throes of one hard thing or another. It’s not for nothing that Christianity’s greatest celebration takes place in a grave.
Easter is the transforming conviction that although in our life we always have death, in death we always have life. Easter’s joy is not pollyannish. It comes to us through tears. Christ’s risen face is eternally grooved with them, and his risen hands still bear the mark of nails.
Bells and trumpets are proper for Easter. And so are tears. We need to weep Easter into the world as much as we need to sing it. For Easter aims deep: it wants to ground itself in the real, not dance on the surface of life. And when things go deep, you can’t help it. Tears come.
I think Easter is even seen best through tears. They have a way of revealing truth. Consider Mary Magdalene. She goes to the tomb in the dark. The stone is gone, but she doesn’t understand or believe. She runs to the disciples who race back with her and look in. Then they go back home. But she stays in the garden. And starts to weep. Glued to the spot, facing the tomb, in her grief, she weeps and weeps and weeps.
Then she sees.
What you can see through tears! What looks like an empty tomb is full of angels. A gardener speaks, and faith knows his voice, falls to its knees. In a room where when we first look there are only frightened disciples, healing, pardon, and peace materialize. In broken dreams, broken bodies, broken bread, you can see through tears that there, precisely there, the Great Wide Mercy dwells.
Prayer: Christ is risen! Risen indeed! Alleluia!