“Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” (Mark 16:3b)
The Lenten period characterized by forty days of fasting and prayer has come to end as we celebrate the Easter festival on Sunday. This is one of the most significant Christian festivals as it marks the liberation of humanity from the power of darkness. The climax for the preparations of this event starts with Palm Sunday when Jesus triumphally entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey then followed by the Holy Week that starts on Monday leading to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and eventually Easter. This is the busiest week in the life of a priest as it is marked daily corporate worship and rehearsals for complicated liturgies for certain special services. One such important and complicated service is the Easter Virgil on Holy Saturday which is marked by baptism service, renewal of baptism vows, service of the work and finally the setting of the new fire and lighting of the paschal candle. These are beautiful and important services in the life of a Christian. The lighting of the paschal candle symbolize the resurrection and light of Christ, and is carried in procession into the church, dispelling the darkness. The darkness that symbolizes the powers of the devil is dispelled and there is new life in the resurrected Christ. The story of the resurrection of Christ according to the Markan account talks of women visiting the tomb of Jesus early in the morning. It seems as if their reason for going to the tomb early in the morning was not see whether Jesus has resurrected or not but to probably anoint his body. However, their major obstacle the big stone that was used to seal the tomb hence the question; “ Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” They someone muscular probably a man to help them with rolling the stone and this was their major problem. Upon arriving at the tomb, they were surprised that the stone was already rolled away and their problem has been solved. However, the second problem of not finding the body of Jesus as they anticipated was awaiting. We leave in a world where they are many stones that need to be rolled away for us in order for us to enjoy a joyful and peaceful life. Such stones in our world include the current invasion of Ukraine by Russia, recent earthquake in Turkey and Syria in which over 10000 people were killed, the economic recession in most parts of the world resulting in many countries experiencing inflation in double figures, food shortages, and global warming that has caused extreme weather patterns in most parts of the world. Recently severe floods hit Southern Africa and over 200 people were killed in Malawi. Such is the troubled world in which we live. However, though darkness covers our beloved world we do not lose faith because the easter story reminds us that no amount of darkness can overcome the light of Christ. The gospel of John reminds us that “ In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:4-5). Though we encounter darkness on daily basis let us keep the easter flame alive nothing can surpass the light of Christ. I shall end with the collect for easter from the Book of Common Worship:
Lord of all life and power,
who through the mighty resurrection of your Son
overcame the old order of sin and death
to make all things new in him:
grant that we, being dead to sin
and alive to you in Jesus Christ,
may reign with him in glory;
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit
be praise and honour, glory and might,
now and in all eternity.
Have a blessed and spirit-filled easter and in your celebrations remember to save our mother earth.
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