Das Gesprengte Grab.
Don’t worry I’m not practising my German just in case I need citizenship there post Brexit, but I do want to talk about ‘Das Gesprengte Grab’, ‘The Open or Burst Grave’.
The grave lies in a disused cemetery in the German city of Hanover. It was the place where all of the great and good from Hanover’s past were buried. This particular grave peeked the morbid curiosity of the people during the mid to late 1800s and, it was even the subject of a horror story. It was something of a ‘tourist attraction’ with people travelling miles just to try and see inside. It was once a grand monument and there is a tree growing through it, pushing over the large stone blocks that had sealed it tight and bursting the heavy iron clasps which were meant to hold it fast.
The monument was erected in the year 1782 by the then Hanoverian state secretary for his departed wife and it bore this inscription, “May this tomb, bought for eternity, never be opened.” Despite the command of the grave’s inscription and the determination of man, a birch tree had grown up through the grave and mocked the proud inscription of the monument by raising the massive stones from their foundation and bursting the strong iron clasp that held them in place.
This Easter we once again celebrate another open or burst grave, this time the tomb which held Jesus. Despite the command of the grave that Jesus was dead and the determination of man by placing a huge stone to seal the grave fast we celebrate ‘Christ is risen’! On Easter Day the grave which held Jesus was burst open, not by any tree but by the power of God which brings life out of death.
We celebrate a God who offers life for eternity and not a grave ‘never to be opened’.
Christ is risen, He is risen indeed. Alleluia!