I would like to briefly juxtapose one story with another, the story of The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit with the story of the Resurrection in the Gospels.
At the end of Nesbit’s The Railway Children, an old gentlemen comes to visit the family at Three-Chimney’s. He believes there is reason to hope that their father who has been unjustly imprisoned may soon be released, and he comments to Bobby (Roberta):
“But one never knows. Very wonderful and beautiful things do happen, don’t they? And we live most of our lives in the hope of them.”
This speech seems to capture the sense of longing fulfilled and to be fulfilled in the resurrection. To some extent, we, like the women at the tomb, have yet to grasp the full import of such “wonderful and beautiful things.” We discover the empty tomb and are stupefied.
Unable to immediately grasp the meaning of such fulfillment, Nesbit describes Roberta:
“She had the vague, confused, expectant feeling that comes to one’s heart in dreams. What her heart expected I can’t tell—perhaps the very thing that you and I know was going to happen—but her mind expected nothing; it was almost blank, and felt nothing but tiredness and stupidness and an empty feeling, like your body has when you have been a long walk and it is very far indeed past your proper dinner-time. “
Is it not also wonderful that Christ longs for our arrival as well? He says to his disciples, “with desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15). Long had he waited to sit at this meal with them: for thirty years, even since the very beginning of time. And even now he waits to share this meal with us in its full glory.
The empty tomb is the beginning of a hope so big we are left without words to fully capture its meaning. Even in heaven we shall speak of and contemplate God’s glory and never exhaust ourselves in speech or in silence.