Chaos and darkness were everywhere, without order or meaning. Then God spoke into the darkness and said, “Let there be light”, and there was light. It was morning.
They had fled in the night, their staffs in their hands, their sandals on their feet, the unleavened bread carried with them for sustenance. In the dark they had eaten their slaughtered lambs, and waited, cowering and uncertain in their homes with the blood-painted doorways.There had been an enormous wail of sorrow all throughout Egypt, from Pharaoh’s palace to the lowliest hovel at the death of the firstborn, and Pharaoh had finally consented to let them go. They journeyed for several days, but it seemed like a long night of terror, because of the great dread they felt towards the Egyptians who pursued them. And that last night, while they camped at the edge of the sea, there was only a cloud between themselves and the Egyptians. Then Moses stretched out his hand and, right before their amazed eyes, the waters parted and a way was made before them. They saw the salvation of God, and it was morning.
They huddled in fear. They had seen the sun turn to darkness in the middle of the day, and their beloved Master tortured to death. They had seen him heal the sick, they had seen him walk on water, they had seen him silence the storm and feed a multitude with one tiny meal. And now he hung there, on a cross, consumed by the helpless weakness of death, and it seemed that all their hopes died with him. They had never seen anything that looked less like freedom and victory. It was defeat, it was hopelessness, it was the terror of what might happen next. Though the sun came out again, and day gave way to night, gave way to day, gave way to night again, for them it was a prison of darkness. They felt like never again would there be a dawn that mattered.
It was the women who went out there, before dawn, when the Sabbath was over. It was something they could do with their grief, at least they could take his poor, mutilated body and tenderly wrap it with the best they had to give. So out they crept, in the greyness before dawn, and made the way to his borrowed tomb. For them it was still the blackest of nights, and when they came and found the stone rolled away and the tomb vacated, it seemed even darker. They did not expect to meet with angels, they did not expect to hear the world-shattering words “He is not here, for he is risen.” And Mary, alone with her grief in the shadowed garden, did not expect to meet with him face to face and hear him speak her name with the quiet, unstoppable power that calls the dead to life. He had truly risen, conquering death, judgement and the grave with a victory that transformed the universe. It was morning indeed.