Easter marks that decisive moment in human history, when God broke the rules. The rule of sadness and death was ended, and new life and a new hope became available.
But the Easter Sunday story doesn’t start there. It starts at dawn on Sunday morning, in the cold and the dark, at the tomb where Jesus was buried.
The tomb had been blocked by a huge stone, sealed with the Roman Governor’s authority, and guarded by a detachment of soldiers. But by dawn, the seal had been broken and the rolled to one side. The guards were gone.
The women got there first, but when they looked inside, the tomb was empty, except for some grave clothes. Jesus wasn’t there.
They were filled with sadness and fear and confusion. They were looking back to everything that they had hoped for, all the promises and dreams that were stirred up by Jesus’ teaching and his wonderful acts of power, all of which now seemed lost and broken.
They weren’t expecting anything about that to change. And when the men arrived, they just looked in, and went home. Like them, we can stand at the tomb, looking backwards at what hasn’t happened.
Or we can do what they did. It took them awhile. Mary, who had learned to love well, took the least time.