Station 2

The Followers Discover the Empty Tomb

“And the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.”
-Matthew 28:5-6

“He’s not here”

If I’m honest, “he’s not here” is something I’ve whispered to myself from time to time, referencing that feeling of emptiness inside. I don’t believe I’m the only one who’s said this. We may have different vocabulary to describe it - anxiety, estrangement, incompleteness - but all of us have brushed up against the unease of the lack of something in our interior lives. But what if that emptiness is not evidence to the argument that I’m not a worthy vessel for Holy presence, but the very feeling of Divine presence right now?

My guess is that we know much more about God than we admit to know. God speaks to us much more often than we realize, or than we choose to realize. I think what we get caught up in seeking objective truth for the existence of God. What we want is a mountain top, or hidden cave, or sacred shrine to hold the presence of God so we can for ourselves and others point to it and say “Here. See? There’s God right there. Satisfied?” But would we really satisfied? Because if I could show where God is, then what good is a God that can be held in one place? If I could show you where god is then we might neglect all the other places where maybe we would find God as well. The places we don’t expect. The places we may assume nothing there. The places that feel empty and dead.

The empty tomb was not proof of the resurrection, but rather a silent witness of the greatest invitation to living a life. Seeing the empty tomb, the disciples were motivated to seek the Risen One at work in their midst. The emptiness invited them to believe in the continuing presence of the Lord of Love. All the empty and lonely places of a human life are precisely where the Risen One wishes to work and be revealed.

Our interior incompleteness is not something that is necessarily meant to be filled but is instead the sound God’s voice makes in a world that has explained the Mystery away. Maybe God speaks most clearly through God’s silence, God’s absence so that we know God best through our missing of God.

I don’t believe our deepest longing is to find the objective proof of God’s existence. I think our deepest longing is the experiencing of Divine Presence in our lives. Who knows what God will use to speak today? Not knowing, the empty tomb, is what makes today like every day a holy mystery.

May you SEE the empty places of a human life as the invitation to unexpected Divine presence.

*influenced by Frederick Buechner, A Message in the Stars

Station 2