Surely that angel could have done more than just sit there on top of that tombstone. After all, rolling away the stone from the tomb of Jesus was a great thing, an important thing, something that will forever be remembered. But to roll that stone aside and then sit on it? What good was that? What did that accomplish? A great deal, that’s what.
You see, we would have expected to read, that after that angel rolled the stone away that he flew off to announce to the whole world the good news! But that’s not what that angel did at all. He just sat there – on top of that stone. Are we supposed to think that this is special, noteworthy – praiseworthy, even? The simple answer is “yes.” It was poetry in motion. It was beauty in action. In fact, there is something here even more powerful and personal than if that angel had winged its way toward the heavens shouting and singing and praising.
You see, it isn’t enough to know that the stone of my sorrow, the grave of my grief, has been rolled away – it has to be glorified. Oftentimes when a grief is gone there is still a soreness, a hurt, that lingers. Oh, it may not be the place of today’s tribulation, but it was just yesterday. That’s why I weep over yesterday – I need something to explain it, make sense of it. Even though there is glory today, I need my yesterday to be glorified as well. That’s why I long to see that angel, sitting on top of what just yesterday was the stone of my sorrow.
One of the great glories of Easter is that it brings a brightness to past morns. It tells me not to worry or fret, for that which was indeed death didn’t last. It illuminates the yesterday’s tombs. It teaches me the answer to the age-0ld question: What’s the purpose behind all of this pain? It causes me to quit complaining over the years that have past. It removes the tears shed over the shortness of this all-to-human life. It proves the past justice of my forever faithful Father.
Even though I have come too late to see the Resurrected Lord walk out of that tomb, I can still see the angel sitting there on that stone. Because of that fact, the stone itself has become a symbol of that victory. What a comfort that is to my soul. I used to ask, pray, for a fiery chariot to come and take me to Heaven like it did the prophet, but now I think that an angel sitting on a tombstone might just be better. For, you see, he makes a chariot out of death’s cloud. That’s why I say, “Let me see an angel sitting on a tombstone!” Let me see death as a sacred, precious thing.
When I was a little boy, I had a great fear of death – even the symbols of it – but who is afraid of a tombstone that has become an angel’s stool? In fact, if there is an angle sitting there, I don’t even need to see the stone rolled away.
That’s why as we approach Easter morning, we no longer have to fear death, for today there sits an angel in the spot of yesterday’s great gloom. He has glorified yesterday’s grief. There is now exaltation in what just yesterday was my humiliation.
The stone still weighs as much it did yesterday, but now it is not the weight of grief, but the weight of glory.