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In Isolation: April 12, “No Empty Tomb”

An introduction to this “In Isolation” blog series appears at the top of the March 22 post.

This is the reflection Walter Farquharson wrote for “No Empty Tomb” on this website. Walter’s closing paragraph has drawn me into thinking about how bizarre Easter Sunday is this year. No gatherings of any kind: not for celebratory services; not for familiar family dinners.

It hits home for Christina and me in a very personal way. Our close friends, Lonnie & David Moddle, have for many years made us a part of their family by inviting us to Easter and Christmas dinner. Not being able to be together with our family of faith for a service is one thing, but the isolation of these times really gripped us where it hurt when we realized we wouldn’t be enjoying a ‘Moddle Meal’ and all that goes with that!

Back to those closing words of Walter’s. I wonder if we’ll have a sense of resurrection when the stone is finally rolled away from the tomb of isolation we’re all experiencing. I’m sensing more and more of a feeling that people just may “move to reconcile and heal an alienated world”; that “individual lives [will be] changed”; that “basic community [will be] changed”; that “attitudes to resources, politics, and economics [will be] changed” and “old divisions [may be] shattered.”

Quite apart from the sheer stupidity of scattered churches that will selfishly defy sense and sensitivity by insisting on gathering together today, perhaps there is potential for a new “common vision” (Thanks, Brother John!). Unity through isolation. What a concept! Nothing unites quite like a common foe.

I wonder what next Easter will be like…

From Walter:

This hymn was written as my personal response while planning an Easter service. In it, I was suggesting that the real proof of Christ’s resurrection lay for the disciples not in the empty tomb, but in Christ’s living presence. Without changed and changing lives, the empty tomb is only a curious insertion into the story.

Early opponents of the Christian faith tried to discredit the movement by ridiculing or questioning the resurrection stories. The body was stolen, they said; Jesus was only in a coma when removed from the cross; someone else took his place on the cross. These explanations failed, not because irrefutable evidence of a physical resurrection could be produced, but because it was noted, “See how these Christians love one another.”

The ringing reality of resurrection is found in love-filled women and men moving to reconcile and heal an alienated world. Individual lives are changed. Basic community is changed. Attitudes to resources, politics and economics are changed. Old divisions are shattered.

No empty tomb is proof to me
that Christ from death has set us free,
yet I will sing that Christ is risen,
and I will trust what God has given.

For gift this is that changes all
surprised by joy, we hear life call;
Christ’s living presence fills each day
empowering all who walk his way.

It’s not with death that we must stay,
the stone of grief is rolled away,
and we who were entombed are free
to capture now eternity.

No longer bound by self and sin,
we know the promised joy within.
Christ is alive and present here
to banish power of death and fear.

As Christ lived love and gave great joy,
so Christian finds self now employed.
Christ’s Spirit bids us live God’s praise
discover cause to fill our days.

A world that’s broken needs our care,
and love alone knows how to share.
Great Easter song to live and sing
“God’s love in Christ, fill everything!”

Words Copyright © 1974 by Walter Farquharson.
Administered by Hope Publishing Company, Carol Stream, Illinois • USA