The Lutheran church across the street from us has an annual Easter weekend custom: on Good Friday they station Roman soldiers outside the grave, they stay there all weekend, and then on Easter morning Jesus gets up from the grave and walks outside. Here are the soldiers guarding the tomb on Holy Saturday.
For me the entirety of the message of Easter, including all the stuff Paul and Peter bring in, is summed up in one short sentence: “He is not here.”
Eternal life… hope … courage … strength and power … living in the life of Jesus Christ himself … justification … …. … all of it is in this one short sentence. “He is not here.” This is what the tomb looks like this morning.
Here’s the prayer from the Book of Common Prayer: “Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”