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The Empty Tomb
By Randy Sly
April 11th, 2009
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
What would the scene at the tomb of our Lord be like from the vantage point of two angels from heaven? Join Randy Sly in an imaginary narrative about the first Easter.WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - The following is a fictionalized narrative, where we join two angels whose job it is to stand vigil at the tomb until our Lord rises from the dead.
Have you ever heard an angel chuckle? The sound begins deep inside and seems to resonate through their whole body, sounding like a muted trumpet playing in a deep cavern. Well, that’s about as close as earthly folk can even get to the sound.
It was that time between darkness and dawn, when you can see forms but no colors. Link and Strom, the guardians who had faithfully walked with Jesus through His years of ministry, were perched above the tomb with their hands over their mouths to keep anyone from hearing them laugh.
A few feet below the angels, Roman guards stood at attention, weapons ready, alert to any movement. Their orders were clear, no one was allowed near the opening of the tomb. Should anyone tamper with the body inside, the soldiers would be immediately executed. They were positioned in closed ranks, side by side directly in front of the large rock that sealed the doorway. Each soldier’s face was fixed like a stone statue, revealing the resolution of their vigil.
In front of the guards, four rows of demons stood in similar formation. They, too, were resolute, looking to the right and the left for any sign of threat. No one from heaven or earth was going to get near the body of Jesus. They would make sure of that.
“I wish we could tell them,” Link whispered.
“We have our orders,” said Strom, again almost letting one of those chuckles come out.
“I know, but this is a time of victory!”
“Shhhh - don’t let them know yet!”
They knew that soon all heaven and earth would hear the news. The tomb upon which these two were sitting was actually empty. The Father had hidden this marvelous truth from all - including the forces of darkness.
Another angel secretly approached the two from behind. He looked like the others but you could tell he was a leader with special authority.
“I have just spoken with the Lord,” he whispered to them.
“You spoke with Him?” both said almost in unison.
“Where is He? Does He look well? Is He pleased with the outcome of His Plan? Strom overwhelmed the senior angel with questions.
“Shhhhh,” the angel interrupted them. “Your questions will all be answered in time. All is ready; you know what to do.”
“We do,” Link said, “The demons think we’re here to watch them. In fact, they have been making a lot of confrontive statements for our benefit, talking about the cross and how great it was to watch the Son die, and now guard His tomb. They really believe that we’re waiting for our final defeat.”
“The master has said it’s time; soon they will know the truth!” The lead angel spoke with a victorious tone in his voice. The two remembered a time of celebration in heaven before the Son came to earth. The Plan had been revealed to all the heavenly host by Michael, the archangel. Now the Plan was almost complete.
The angel disappeared as quickly as he had come. Link and Strom stood to their feet, raised their hands toward heaven and began to sing quietly to the Lord. They sounded like a choir of a thousand voices singing in perfect unison. The song filled the area around the tomb with a sweet spirit of peace and rest.
Below, unaware of this heavenly concert, the brigade began to relax for some strange reason. Their eyelids becoming heavy, their minds began to drift. One man actually dropped his spear and fell back against the stone door before he was awakened by a superior who reprimanded the entire company for breaking ranks. The soldiers tried their best to stay awake. They knew sleep could mean death for abandoning their post.
The song grew in dimension, octave upon octave was added to both melody and harmony. The Glory of God was released in waves from the place above the opening of the tomb. Both angels began to glow with a heavenly brilliance as the power of the Holy Spirit manifested around the tomb. The soldiers were overcome. Falling like military mannequins, they dropped into a deep deep sleep.
All this time, the demons were hunched together, holding their ears. The sounds of worship were piercing and deadly to them. As the presence of the Lord grew, they hopped, rolled and finally crawled a few hundred feet from the tomb, which seemed to be the source of their distress. Huddled as a darkened mass of evil intent, they watched in horror as the two who sang began to climb down to a position in front of the tomb, while continuing their heavenly praise.
Link broke the seal, and with the strength equal to a hundred men, rolled the stone from the door as though it was merely a paper rock. The demons screamed in terror, when they discovered the tomb they had guarded was empty.
The company of fallen beings cursed God for His deception and hurriedly retreated. They were pushing each other and tripping over one another as they left. Fearful of Satan’s retribution, they were confused and not sure where to go or what to do. The kingdom of darkness was quickly falling into disarray as certain victory had now become absolute defeat.
As Strom walked inside the tomb, Link directed him to wait there for the followers of Jesus who would be arriving soon. He, then, started up the path toward Jerusalem where he would stay with the disciples in the upper room until Jesus appeared. Link stopped and looked back at the empty tomb, the sleeping soldiers littering the area around the opening. He rejoiced that the Son’s victory was so decisive.
A great deal had occurred since Jesus had come. He and Strom were privileged to play a small part in God’s great Plan. Turning back toward Jerusalem, he continued the short journey toward the city. A few hundred yard up the path, he passed a man who shone like the sun.
“Well done, faithful warrior.” The man’s voice that brought a rush through the whole being of the angel.
“Lord, it is You! May You be glorified in all heaven and earth.”
“Stand near me, warrior. Behold the glory of God as my victory is made known to the whole earth.”
With that the Lord turned toward a huddle of demons that had been secretly following the angel. “Be gone,” He said, “and take this message with you. I have risen and my Father’s will has been completed for the salvation of all mankind.”
The demons fled, tripping over each other as they ran back to deliver the message to their master.
Jesus sent Link on to be with His disciples, giving orders to guard the upper room from Satan’s forces until He arrived. The angel bowed low before the Lord and ran down the path toward the city. Just then the silhouettes of women bearing spices approached.
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