Box 13-085 THE FIRST EASTER MORNING CONDUCTED BY NINA VIVIAN (WRITTEN BY [REV.] CALVIN MCQUESTEN)
Apr 6 1901
The First Easter Morning
By Nina Vivian
The Evening News, Toronto, Ontario
April 6, 1901
Written for The News
Once upon a time when this old world was nineteen centuries younger, there bloomed in the Far East a beautiful garden. The blue sky in dazzling, unclouded splendor looked down all day upon the rose-colored blossoms of the oleander, the radiant whiteness of the Eastern Lily; and at night the silvery moon peeped through between the deep shadowy branches of the Olives upon the white stone of a new white sepulchre. How remote Nature seems from the depths of human grief; the heart bleeds, but Nature smiles on, serene, unconscious of it all, her very beauty only bearing in upon humanity the utter loneliness of human tears!
So it was on this glorious morning; the morning of the world's first real Sabbath day, the first day of the week.
Dim the sweet look that Nature wears,"
but beneath the shadow of the olives, by the door of the white new tomb, stood a beautiful woman, clad in the white garments of her country, her face hidden in her hands, her shoulders convulsed with weeping--a very Niobe in the midst of this smiling April garden. At her feet there lay a great sheaf of lilies, the field lilies which He had loved so well, and which she had brought to lay beside the quiet body of the Man who had taught what it meant to be a women. He had not been for her, nor for any women, yet for her and for all women through all the centuries to come as the memory of the Man, Christ Jesus.
The Man who had laid His hand on the shoulder of the shivering adulteress, and said, "Neither do I condemn thee; go and sin no more." Ah, that touch had purified her very soul! The old life had fallen away from her like a garment, and left her once more--a woman among women, and best of all, His friend. She had believed in Him so, His very presence upon the same earth she trod had helped her to live as He wished, and as He had taught her to wish, Had helped her to fulfil the early promise of her womanhood. But now! Her heart turned with hot resentment, as she saw it all again. The hillside, outlined whitely against the dark and lowering sky, the three crosses, the jeering crowd---the Man there upon that cruel tree with a thought to the very last for the trembling women at the foot of His cross. She had thought that it could not be the end, He must surely save Himself, and justify their faith in Him; until that spear thrust; then with the flowing blood from His dear side, it seemed as if all hope had flowed away from her soul, leaving her hopeless and desolate. She had watched and waited, crouched at the foot of Golgatha, hoping against hope for some sign, but in vain, till they took him down and laid him just as any other man would have been laid, in the tomb of Joseph, His friend. Now there was nothing left to her but the poor consolation of laying beside Him the sweet field flowers which He had often touched with loving fingers in those happy hours of sweet companionship in Galilee. But this last blow was almost the worst of all. Could they not have left her this poor comfort? To have left her only the empty tomb. Ah, cruel, cruel and with a sobbing cry, "My Master, My friend," she stooped again and looked in with longing eyes upon what was a moment ago the empty tomb.
But Lo, there are now two radiant white robed beings seated there, one where His feet had lain and one by the napkin which had bound the thorn-pierced brow. One of them spoke to her so gently, so tenderly, and with such a radiant smile, that she was not even afraid, but thought that they, too, were looking for her Lord.
"Woman, why dost thou weep?"
With a sob she turned away despairingly. "Because they have taken away my Lord and I know not where they have laid Him."
Even as she turned, a quiet voice at her shoulder repeated the same question, and thinking that she was addressed by one of the wealthy Joseph's household, she said, pleadingly:
"Oh sir, if thou hast taken Him away, tell me where thou has laid Him, that I may go to Him."
Not then, or ever since has a longing pleading soul, turned away unanswered. In the calmly, lovingly spoken word "Mary," which she had heard so many times in happier circumstances, came the revelation of the Christ. Risen, glorified, but still the friendly Jesus.
As she turned away to tell His brethren at His request, her woman's heart was chanting a very psalm of praise, because in all the ages to come men would know that first of all, the Glorious Son of God had revealed Himself to woman-and she had been a great sinner.NINA VIVIAN