A story is told of a religion teacher preparing her class for the upcoming Easter celebration. She gave an empty plastic egg to each child in her religion class -- including Philip, a boy with Down's Syndrome. They were instructed to go out of the church building onto the grounds and put into the egg something that would remind them of the meaning of Easter.
All returned joyfully. As each egg was opened there were exclamations of delight at a butterfly, a twig, a flower, a blade of grass. Then the last egg was opened. It was Philip's and it was empty!
Some of the children made fun of Philip. "But, teacher," he said, "teacher, the tomb was empty."
A newspaper article announcing Philip's death a few months later noted that at the conclusion of the funeral eight children marched forward and put a large empty egg on the small casket. On it was a banner that said, "The tomb was empty."
My brothers and sisters, the simple insight of this small child has captured the heart of our faith which prompts our reflection this morning. The tomb was indeed empty and from hence forth death would be robbed of its power forever and would paradoxically be the path to eternal life.
Christ is Risen, he is Risen indeed. And for us who are the inheritors of this 2000 year legacy of belief, the promise of transformation and unending hope is given to us.
In a world whose shadow side can be cynicism, despair and hopelessness; perhaps for some this Easter morning burdened with inner stress, doubt, or unnamed fear, the message of hope and the promise of transformation may sound just too good to be true. Yet, it is true for those who are willing to surrender to the power of the One who lives with us still as Risen Lord and Savior.
For the power of this day extends beyond the freshness of a spring morning, the new clothes that we wear with pride, the Easter brunch or dinner shared with family and friends. The transforming power of this day is rooted in a love that is stronger than death, a love that a cross and tomb could not contain, a love that reaches out with outstretched arms to all whose hearts are restless until they rest in the Risen Lord.
And so, my friends, “The tomb was empty” vanquished by the power of love. “Let us keep this feast with sincerity and truth” - for in it lies our hope and our light in the midst of whatever darkness we may ever have to face. And that, brothers and sisters is Good News this Easter morn.