Easter Blessings! Christ our Lord is risen!
So often we hear these words, but do we see the sights? Easter is a visual event, we often forget. How did people seeing the miracle of the Resurrection for the first time react? Never forget, they were the least powerful of their community, they were women. Women steeped in Jewish culture and meaning, they KNEW the emblems of their faith. What did they see when they arrived at the tomb?
As what I would consider THE pivotal event of Christianity, I would think it would be pretty clear in it's description in the Gospels, however it just isn't well defined. I suggest we begin by not taking the texts of the Gospels for granted, not assuming that we know what they say. The interesting indeterminate nature of these passages might then become less of a problem than a theological stimulus to find the meaning of the empty space we see in the tomb.
Archbishop Rowan Williams has written an essay called "Between the Cherubim: The Empty Tomb and the Empty Throne," and has suggested that imagery of the Ark of the Covenant might help us modern Christians understand early Jewish thought when confronted with the emptiness of Jesus' Tomb.
This is unique in the ancient world. The Ark was considered to be the throne, or the footstool containing of the tablets of the law, of an always invisible God. This God was the only God Who must not be represented, Who cannot be possessed or contained, Who is where there appears to be nothing.
In other words, the most sacred space where God was in the midst of the Hebrew people was empty. If you went to Jerusalem to visit God, what you came to visit wasn’t a golden idol, it was empty space--the holy absence and holy silence of the empty space between the cherubim. Because there was no gilded statue the Israelites were able to connect with the living presence of God in their lives.
So, bringing us back to the Tomb of Christ, there, as told by Luke and John, when the Jewish women looked in, there are two angels, and John further states in 20:12 "and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet".
So, they, who are used to the "God who dwells between the cherubim" suddenly see and know.. they KNOW Who Jesus really is, they see the imagery of the Ark, they know the empty space between the Angels in the Tomb is the evidence of the divinity of Jesus Christ -- the emptiness marking the presence of God in a way our modern minds forget.
Jesus is Risen, He is Lord and Christ!