“Christ the Lord is risen today....Hallelujah!”
On Feb. 27, 1991, at the height of Operation Desert Storm, an American mother named Ruth Dillow received a very sad message from the Pentagon. It stated that her son, Private Clayton Carpenter, had stepped on a mine in Kuwait and was dead.
Ruth Dillow later wrote, “I can’t begin to describe my grief and shock. It was almost more than I could bear. For three days I wept. For three days I expressed anger and loss. For three days people tried to comfort me, to no avail because the loss was too great.”
But three days after she received that message, the telephone rang. The voice on the other end said, “Mom, it’s me. I’m alive.” Ruth Dillow said, "I couldn’t believe it at first. But then I recognised his voice, and he really was alive.” It turned out that the message was all a mistake!
She said, “I laughed, I cried, I felt like turning cartwheels, because my son whom I had thought was dead, was really alive. I’m sure none of you can even begin to understand how I felt.”
I cannot begin to imagine what that poor mother went through and felt during those agonising days and neither have I experienced her joy of three days later. However, some who walked the pages of the New Testament would have understood how she felt because they experienced the same emotions themselves. One day they watched their best friend and teacher being nailed to a cross. They witnessed His pain as He cried out, "I thirst!" and "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”
They listened as He finally bowed His head and said, "It is finished!” and "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” They watched as His body was taken from the cross and buried. All their hopes and dreams were buried with Him.
Friday and all day Saturday they mourned, until finally, on "the first day of the week, early in the morning,” the scripture says, some women made their way along the path that led to His tomb, wondering who would roll away the stone for them.
But when they arrived, they found that the stone had already been rolled away. And an angel there told them, "You’re looking in the wrong place. You’re looking for Jesus among the dead. He is not dead. He is alive. He is risen, even as He said!”
"He is risen!” This is what we celebrate at Easter time!