“..you seek Jesus of Nazareth … He has risen. He is not here.” Mk 16:6
I remember the Easter service, many years ago, in which I first heard these words of the tomb-angel spoken as if they were a prophecy against the church: “He is not here.”
It happened during the sermon, in which the pastor was giving far too much time to his representation of what the world would be like – without the resurrection!
In fact, I think the Easter Morning Gospels present a perfect figure of the failed church: we read that some sincerely devoted women gather at a deserted place with gifts that our Lord is not disposed to receive.
Really? Embalming spices? And yet the churches persist in ‘spicing up’ this untidy idea of our Lord’s physical, bodily resurrection when varying scripture accounts give us a clear choice between a physical or a spiritual resurrection. I think we should be paying attention to those texts that say It was never about tombs or material bodies. Did the risen Lord not ‘appear’ to his disciples at Emmaus and again in the upper room while the doors were locked? Does anybody think Paul beheld a material body on the road to Damascus?
What if the women had remained in hiding with the apostles long enough for the authorities to take back control of the spin by securing the re-opened tomb from inspection? Do we think this would have mattered to – the risen Lord?
“He’s not here!” Maybe the words were spoken today about you – when family and friends noticed your absence from church. For you I have this advice: Seek the truth again. It may be obscured by all the outward stuff which the church is focusing on. Don’t allow your negative feelings about any specific church to compromise your independent right to truth and your right to worship where and how you want – even to wait upon the Spirit in that inner place of meeting with “my Father and your Father.” (Jn 20:17)