Why do you seek the living among the dead? The One who is everlasting life is not hidden, yet not here.Orthodox Liturgy, Pascal Canon
The women bring myrrh to anoint the body of Jesus after his death, fulfilling the prophecy of the magi’s symbolic gift at his birth. But an angel points away from the tomb. “He is not here.”
In the more intimate narrative of John’s Gospel, Mary Magdalene, (who becomes for the church a symbol of the consumate contemplative) comes alone to the tomb in the dark, not expecting anything.The nights of the soul teach us to wait in the dark; Light permeates the soul before we can apprehend it, Presence manifests before we can perceive it. And as the Light dawns within us, the Presence we perceive is not what we have previously experienced or understood or expected.
“Do not cling to me,” says Jesus to Mary. Do not cling to the holy as you once knew the holy. You must learn to see and hear and perceive anew.Open your consciousness to awake to the dawn of something entirely transformed and transforming.
For to-night the teeming world gives birth to the World Everlasting. -Rumi
Noli Me Tandere, Giotto, Church of San Francisco, Assisi
the seed quickens in countless hearts
Christ was in the tomb; the whole world was sown with the seed of Christ’s life; that which happened thirty years ago in the womb of the Virgin Mother was happening now, but now it was happening yet more secretly, yet more mysteriously, in the womb of the whole world.Christ had already told those who flocked to hear Him preach that the seed must fall into the earth, or else remain by itself alone.Now the seed of His life was hidden in darkness in order that His life should quicken in countless hearts, over and over again for all time.His burial, which seemed to be the end, was the beginning.It was the beginning of Christ-life in multitudes of souls.It was the beginning, too, of the renewal of Christ’s life in countless souls.Caryll Houselander 1901-1954
In this world sow seeds of righteousness, and in the Resurrection gather them in. - Ephraem the Syrian c.306-373
Peacock, Christian sign of Resurrection, Botticelli, Detail, Magi
"He is not here" (The "White Angel") Mileseva Monastery, Serbia 1222-28
Just as seed, existing formlessly in the beginning, is shaped into a design and increases in bulk, prepared as it is by the indescribable skill of God, so too it is not at all absurd but entirely consistent that the material enclosed in tombs and which was once possessed of shape should be restored anew to its ancient structure, and dust became man again in the same way that man originally took his birth from dust.-Gregory of Nyssa c.335-394
As I sit on this porch, … I have been brought to this morning by a process that began billions of years ago; I am an amalgamation of stardust that has miraculously been made aware; I am cradled in the hands of God; I am part of the living, conscious expression of the Infinite.John McQuiston II - Finding Time for the Timeless p.101-2
teeming world gives birth
On every side is clamour and tumult, in every
street are candles and torches,
For to-night the teeming world gives birth to the
Thou wert dust and art spirit, thou wert ignorant
and art wise.
He who has led thee thus far will lead thee
How pleasant are the pains He makes thee suffer
while He gently draws thee to Himself!
The Day of Resurrection
-Rumi 1207-1273(translated by F. Hadland Davis)
The Last Word
The Known Must Be the Knower
In God nought e’er is known.
Forever one is He.
What we in Him e’er know
Ourselves must grow and be.
Collect (concluding readings at The Great Vigil)
O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquillity the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.