By Anne Walcott
The angel of the Lord said to the women, “Do no be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, He is risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where he lay. Matthew28:5-6
After four months of traveling from country to country, there are still times where you have to just look around you and say, “Am I really here?” For me, this past Easter Sunday was just one of those days. It started at 5:20 am. There was a group of us that were going to get up early to have our own little sunrise service. I was excited, since I had wanted to get up early one day to watch the sunrise anyway. I got up and was out the door at 5:30, only to find that it was raining outside and no one else was there. I stayed until it got light (and I felt safe) and then left and headed up into the mountains for my own little service.
It was kind of nice to be alone because it gave plenty of time to reflect. It’s been years since I’ve been to a sunrise service. I thought back to when I was little. We would get up early and my mom would get the three of us ready in our new Easter dresses, while my dad went to prepare for the service. We would eat a hot cross bun and then walk in the dark, cold and usually wet grass, with our new white sandals, to the Frank Lloyd Wright Chapel in the cemetery. I remember sitting in there, bundled up, on the wooden pew bench, and singing the Easter hymns. I remember watching the sunlight start to streak through the windows and feeling it get warmer as we just sat there, and then leaving later without needing a coat or mittens. I also remembered an Easter, where as we walked back to church for breakfast, I wondered if what I was seeingif that was what the two women on their way to the grave experienced.
I think in the states, Easter just becomes so routine. You get up, get dressed, maybe check out the Easter basket, jump in the car and head to church. My friend, Erin, and I even talked about how this Easter we would not be “all dressed up” or wearing cute, strappy sandals. It seems we’ve kind of become desensitized to what Easter is really about. We have to have something visual, like the movie “The Passion of Christ” or live off away from everything, to be able to “feel it.” Maybe it is because this year, I don’t have the “normal comfort,” that got me feeling, as I walked along the muddy, uneven, and heavily animal-trafficked road to my spot on the hill, back in time again. What was it like for those two women?
Was it cold that morning? Was there dew all over? They didn’t have Reebok tennis shoes back then, so did their feet get wet and dirty? Did they slip? Were the flowers in bloom? Was it overcast and dark? Did they pass and greet anyone else on their way there? Where was the grave? Just in the middle of a garden, a cemetery, by the side of the road, at the top of the hill? What were they thinking on there way there? Were they making plans in their minds of what to say to the guards? How to prepare the body? Were they nervous about the big task ahead of them, along with being sad? Did the words, “…and on the third day be raised again” (Luke 24:7) ever ring through their mind at all that morning?
Around 6:15, I got up to the top, just sat on a rock and overlooked a cemetery with a big cross in the middle, against the back drop of the mountains. I just sat there and reflected some more on what exactly took place that first Easter morning, and then had my own little time of worship. Needless to say, I think this was one of my most enjoyable early Easter mornings yet.
Anne Walcott, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, has left a career in television media to pursue non-profit work in communications. She is currently traveling the globe, documenting the lives of Christians.