"Go make the tomb secure"
Pilate invites Jerusalem's leaders to "secure" the tomb of Jesus [Mt.27.62-66]. They "secure" the tomb with a stone, sealant and soldiers. As if these could contain our Lord. Their efforts prove inadequate. Their materials and means turn out to be no match for the One through whom all things were made.
In this first year of the life of the Anglican Church in North America we have so much for which to give thanks. First and foremost is the cross of Jesus Christ, by which all previous securities are undone, and life comes by death.
There are many tombs which others have tried to "secure" with us inside. There are also some tombs in which we have been tempted to "secure" ourselves. None of these tombs hold when Jesus is there.
They can take our buildings and our assets here at home. They can even take our lives, as in far-flung places like Nigeria and Sudan and Indonesia But Jesus is with all those who embrace Him above all else, who follow Him to - and through - whatever crosses are asked.
For us as faithful Anglican Christians the efforts by others to "secure" our tombs have failed miserably, just as they did with the One we call on as Lord and Savior. There has been suffering and loss, pain and grief, anxiety and fear - these things have been very real, and demanded our very best efforts, as well as the grace of the Holy Spirit in abundance. "But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" [1 Cor.15.57].
As I look across the Anglican Church in North America this Easter - seeing its life, its vitality, its healing, its unity, its compassion, its forgiveness, its renewal, its multiplication and growth, its international partners, its clear sense of mission, its appreciation of the transforming love of Jesus Christ - I think I am understanding the mystery and the truth of Easter better than I ever have before. I hope you and yours are too. With Jesus it is just not possible to "secure" any tomb. Easter joy and love to all.
The Most Reverend Robert William Duncan, D.D.
Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America
Anglican Bishop of Pittsburgh
Easter, A.D. 2010