I don’t like that word. It makes me feel… empty. Lonely. Nothing about.
Mary wept to find the tomb empty. Someone, she supposed, had stolen Jesus’ body. Publically torturing and killing him wasn’t enough – now they were going to desiccate his body.
Empty is sad. Empty of company. It means I don’t have anyone.
Empty wallet – no money. Empty gas tank – going no where. Empty mind – thoughtless.
But we’re celebrating emptiness today! How can emptiness be a good thing?
How can Paul write in the Philippians that Jesus “emptied himself?” Poured himself out? (Philippians 2:6).
How can being poured out and empty be a time for joy and celebration?
Sometimes… to empty is to become more.
An athlete who pours herself into training, empties herself into training, becomes a better athlete. The more she empties, the more she is. The more she gives, the more she receives.
And an artist pours himself out on a painting, empties his heart onto canvas – but he never stops being an artist or runs out of heart. The out pouring, the sharing of his heart, makes room in himself for even more creativity and energy to bubble forth.
I see many people here today emptying their love onto others – children and spouses, grandchildren and siblings – but the more you empty this love, the more love you have to give.
Paul writes Jesus poured himself out, and emptied himself… and this kenosis, this self-emptying, didn’t mean Jesus was left a dry husk, with nothing in him… but rather, he is the source of life abundant, life ever renewing, life eternal… so the more Jesus pours, the more Jesus empties, the more life there is.
Emptiness can be a very good thing.
Sometimes, in the emptying, we find we have more resources, more love, more life than we ever thought.
Jesus’ example tells us not to fear emptying ourselves, for life ever-abundant flows into us from God.
So, we can empty ourselves of fears, and hates; we can pour our love and mercy on each other; we can empty our minds of clutter and negative voices; and pour out, live out, who we really are.
Have you ever noticed we have an empty cross? This reminds us the crucifixion has happened, is over, Christ has moved on — and we have an empty tomb. Christ’s death has happened, is over, and Christ again is moving on.
The empty cross reminds us of the empty tomb, and calls us to be an emptying people: people who are ever pouring out life, love, and mercy without reservation because these gifts have come to us without reservation!
Praise God! The tomb is empty! Praise God! Christ is Risen!