The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. (Luke 24:5 NRSV)

A family was watching a movie of the life of Jesus on television. Their six-year-old daughter was deeply moved as the movie maker realistically portrayed Jesus' crucifixion and death. Tears ran down the little girl's face as they took him from the cross and lay him in a borrowed tomb. She watched as a guard was placed outside the tomb. And then suddenly a big smile broke on her face. She bounced up on the arm of the chair and said with great anticipation, "Now comes the good part."

That's why we celebrate Easter, is it not? To celebrate the good part of the last days of Jesus' pilgrimage on earth. To give thanks for Christ's victory over sin and death. To join our voices with millions of his followers around the world this day to sing, "Jesus Christ is risen today!"

To complete our celebration I would ask us to focus on these words from John's Gospel, "Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark." John was simply reporting the facts. And yet, there is another way these words might be interpreted. After all, the writers of the New Testament as well as Jesus himself often used the imagery of darkness and light to signify something else. Mary Magdalene came to the tomb while it was still dark. Darkness could refer to a world without Christ, a world without hope, a world of sin and death, a world where God's promises had been forgotten and God's people felt forsaken. However, darkness is not the end of the story. The dawn broke. God's Son had risen.

Loving God, thank you for the dawn. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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