EASTER SUNDAY | He Lives!
By Abagail Nelson
Sabbath ends about an hour after sunset, when the first night star appears. Do we think that is when the women gathered (in a lean-to perhaps), carrying the nard, myrrh and aloe, the salve that stays the smells of decomposition? We can imagine they were very quiet, some with tears rolling down their cheeks, others with grief locked deep in their throats. Some remembered the last loved one’s body they had prepared. Others thought of the kindness in this friend, their Teacher and Lord. How long would they work? How long to infuse the oils and build the salve? The gospels are silent.
John tells us it was still dark when they set out for the tomb. Perhaps they waited for the moon to set. Perhaps they took to the emptiest roads, kept to the darkest shadows, dodged the soldiers and thieves and night animals. They carried something both expensive and precious. They carried each other.
During this year, COVID’s shadow continues to extend across the globe, and floods and fires and sickness and human failings darken our sense of future and possibility. Easter again begins in the dark. It begins in the grief and the silence. It gathers in our compassion and kindness. It touches us one tiny pinprick of care at a time. Let us lean into the wind with the women, in fear yes, but in growing determination. For we know something they were about to learn. That salve holds light and grace and hope too. He lives!
Abagail Nelson is Executive Vice President, Programs for Episcopal Relief & Development.