In his book, There I Go Again, Steven Moseley tells about Anna Pavlova, a Russian ballet superstar of the early 1900s. Ms. Pavlova has been acclaimed as the greatest ballerina of all time. Her most memorable performance, however, took place after her death.
Anna was to play the role she made famous, the Dying Swan, at the Apollo Theatre in London. Tragically, she succumbed to pneumonia and died two days before the event.
Still, on the appointed night, a crowd of her fans packed the Apollo Theatre. The orchestra began playing, the curtain rose, a spotlight flashed through the dark, and the entire audience rose to its feet. They all stood gazing at a pool of light wandering around the stage, accompanied by the orchestral theme. As the light danced and the orchestra played, they remembered Anna Pavlova. In their hearts they could see her on stage, dressed in white with flashing dark eyes. And when the music stopped at last, they gave the vanished Anna a thunderous ovation that echoed on and on in the night.
An empty stage with only a spotlight, but in their hearts she was alive.
As Christians, we believe that Jesus, God’s own Son, came to earth taking on the form of a man. We believe that He lived among us, died, and on the third day rose again. With Jesus, there is no empty stage, for our Lord is alive and well and reigns supreme in the Universe. As a result, we will live forever. Immortality is ours because of Jesus.
Remember Woody Allen’s comic assessment? “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work,” he said. “I want to achieve immortality by not dying.”
Which is it? Are we immortal because there are those who remember and cherish the fact that once we walked this earth, or are we immortal because Christ has once and forever battered down the gates of death? Is it an empty stage or an empty tomb?