Worship with Us this Easter Sunday
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by Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity
Inspired by Mark 16:1-8 | Acrylic & gold leaf on canvas
Just after sunrise, they come to the tomb. They come to do what far too many cannot do in the wake of COVID’s rage—to touch and anoint the body of their loved one, to provide a proper burial, to honor the life lost with a memorial. However, the women at the empty tomb are left with what many who are grieving today are experiencing—dread and terror. Mark’s gospel originally ends this way (we believe verses 9-19 were added later). Not with Mary running to tell the disciples, not with exuberance and joy, but with fear and silence. The women are numb.
How could it be this way? Who stole the body? Did we come to the wrong tomb? Jesus is going where? Galilee? How? The young robed man’s words probably feel like a mirage induced by their grief or lack of sleep—or both.
In this painting, I imagine what the women see in the moment before they turn to flee from the tomb. Instead of the dry, cracked desert, I imagine instead that they see the story of creation happening again before them. As the horizon breaks open, I imagine light and wind sweeping over a deep sea, giving shape to what was once a formless void. I imagine the heavens blooming like an iris, giving birth to glimmers of radiance. I imagine darkness that still lingers—for in these shadows, there is sacredness too. I imagine the winding path they followed to get to the tomb, previously lit only by starlight, now illuminated with promise. They may be overridden with fear and trembling, but their story does not end here. There is a way forward. In this liminal space, once again, God proclaims that their fear—this new, uncertain way—is still held within the promise of resurrection. For this, I believe, is the promise of this life: that the story of creation happens again and again.