In a Preaching magazine sermon called “Easter as an Earthquake,” William Willimon concluded with these words: “In the fifties, in China, there was a devastating earthquake. But as a result of the quake, a huge boulder was dislodged from a mountain thus exposing a great cache of wonderful artifacts from a thousand years ago. A new world suddenly became visible.
“When the stone was rolled away, and the earth shook, we got our first glimpse of a new world, a world where death doesn’t have the last word, a world where injustice is made right, and innocent suffering is vindicated by the intrusion of a powerful God.
“The women came out to the cemetery to write one more chapter in the long sad story of death’s ascendancy, one more episode of how the good always get it in the end. This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper of resignation at death’s dark victory.
“And then – the earth heaved, an angel appeared, the stone was rolled away, Caesar’s soldiers shook. The angel plopped himself down on the stone in one final act of impudent defiance of death, and the soldiers and all that, and said to the women, ‘Don’t be afraid. You’re looking for Jesus? He isn’t here.’
“Then that angel turned to the soldiers and said, ‘Be afraid. Everything your world is built on is being shaken.’
“Nobody went back the same way they came.”
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