On the First Day of the Week

by Fr. Frederick Edlefsen

“On the first day of the week…” (John 20:1).   This is the opening line of Easter Sunday’s Gospel.  In fact, all four Gospels begin their resurrection story on “the first day of the week.”   Of course, this reminds us of the first day of Creation when God said, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3).  In other words, the resurrection of Jesus is the first day of a New Creation.   Something new and fresh is born.   All things are made new.  


But when Mary Magdalene approached the tomb on that “first day of the week,” it was early in the morning, and it was still dark.  She was in the darkness when she peered into the open tomb.  It was not apparent to Mary Magdalene that Christ was risen and that a New Creation had begun.   In fact, she assumed the worst.   Mary told Peter and John that the Lord had been taken and “we don’t know where they put him.”  


We all struggle with this experience every day.   It’s understandable.  We still live in a troubled world, rife with pandemics, wars, brazen cruelty, hatred, attacks on innocent humans, and injustice.  But God still loves the world.   He died for this world – and for every person and creature in it, without exception.   While we may be tempted to think that evil is getting the upper hand on things, it’s a fact that Good has already won.  “The wicked are like a dream after waking, Lord, dismissed like shadows when you arise” (Psalm 73:20).  


While the times we live in may seem dark, the Risen One says, “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5).    It’s all foretold in the ancient texts of Scripture: “When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a burning furnace and a blazing torch passed between the parts” (Genesis 15:17).   Christ is risen.   His Light shines on everyone, casting a blaze of judgment and peace that resolves everything and makes all things new.   “Night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun, for the Lord God shall give them Light, and they shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:5).  


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