Reading the resurrection story in John’s gospel this morning, I found myself drawn to a few of the words in the opening sentence:
While it was still dark.
Isn’t that how it feels a lot of the time? Dark. Uncertain. Hopeless. It’s the moment we’re most tempted to cave in. The sun has set. Darkness is overwhelming. Fear surrounds us. It seems like it’s the end. There’s no way out. There’s no future. It’s over.
And then, just when it feels like nothing could get any worse… you discover it can.
Not only is the body of the person you pinned your hopes on dead, now his body has been stolen:
They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.
Talk about things going from bad to worse. No wonder Mary, ‘stood weeping outside the tomb’.
When things are dark like this, it’s impossible to see clearly. Even when the very thing we’re hoping for is right before our eyes:
Jesus said to her, “Woman, what are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him…” (Emphasis mine.)
But then, while it’s still dark, we hear something. Our eyes still can’t see clearly, but we can hear. We can hear the birds starting to chirp. A new day is coming. Or, in Mary’s case, we hear a voice we recognise:
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
And suddenly she could see. Suddenly there was light. Suddenly there was hope.
Sunrise follows sunset. Spring follows winter. New life follows death.
Hope. There’s always hope. And that’s why we can be at peace.