The definition of empty is containing nothing, not filled
or occupied, bare, desolate, abandoned. What a tragic feeling to
have – We think of someone who has lost a loved one, who
inadvertently speaks a word and glances to the chair, now empty,
that used to be occupied, realizing almost instantly that they
won’t be hearing a reply. Maybe it’s having that morning coffee
alone or the walk to the bedroom every night. Perhaps the loss
is from a different nature, a separation or divorce,
(psychiatrists advise that divorce produces a grief similar to death).
Whatever the loss – emptiness can be one of the most depressing
situations we can find ourselves in. Even in a crowd the
loneliness after a loss can be overwhelming. I’m reminded of two
people walking a long lonely road from Jerusalem to Emmaus,
around a seven mile journey. It was a Sunday, the reason they
left their property, relatives and friends behind, a few short
years ago, had proven to be for naught. As they traveled this
dusty road, their thoughts may have been so scattered – from the
“we told you so’s” they may hear when they arrived back to their
pasts to “we were so sure he would redeem Israel”, but after
they devoted themselves, having forsaken all to follow – He
would be put to the worst death imaginable. Some of the others
went to the grave and said He wasn’t there and an angel told
them He had risen. None of it made sense anymore – what a long
seven miles it was – questioning, pondering, how could we have
been so deceived? Three years wasted. But a stranger came to
them on the road and they explained all this to Him. They broke
bread with Him and their eyes were opened. Immediately they
returned to the others – filled with emptiness, but a different
kind – this was the joy of the emptiness of a tomb! We also have the
offer, to be filled with this emptiness of a tomb. He who stepped out
of it 2000 years ago, conquered death and wants to touch you in the
same way He touched Cleopas and his companion that day. To
overcome the emptiness of grief, of alienation from God, caused by
sin, and to keep us running on empty, an empty tomb that fills with
joy, an empty tomb that offers life eternal.

Rev. Larry Sassmann

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