It’s amazing that my deepest image of Easter doesn’t come from a memorable sermon, movie, or a book.
My Easter theology was shaped by a simple country woman married to a former Texas Ranger. Her name was Lucille Mosley and she lived on Greentown Loop in Dry Creek.
This is her story.
The Tomb is Still Empty
From Stories from the Creekbank by Curt Iles
As a child, the first thing I would do when we arrived at church on Easter Sunday was rush to Mrs. Mosley’s primary classroom. Going into the room I would find the object of my interest. There on a table was a model of Jesus’ tomb. The tomb was made out of modeling clay and decorated with twigs for trees, and Easter basket grass for landscaping.
Mrs. Lucille Mosley taught the primary Sunday school class at Dry Creek Baptist Church for all of my early years. Primaries was the old term given to 6-9 years old. Our class met in the red brick building that is now the camp office. As a boy this was part of our church facilities.
Each year several weeks before Easter, Mrs. Mosley set up her Easter display on one of the classroom tables. To my eight-year old mind it was wonderful. It was evident that Mrs. Mosley had spent much time preparing this display for our class.
In addition to the items described above, she added dirt, small figures representing the guards, and a small round stone covering the opening of the tomb. As we gathered around the display on the Sundays prior to Easter, she would tell us all about the Easter story.
I always knew that when Easter morning arrived a surprise awaited all of us. Hurriedly my sister Colleen and I would go to the classroom. As always, the stone was rolled away. Just like Mary and Peter we would peer into the tomb to see that it was empty.
Throughout my childhood years and even into my teen years, this empty Easter tomb was a Dry Creek tradition. Even as a teen, making sure no one noticed, I would quietly slip into the classroom on Easter morning, and once again look at the empty tomb.
As Mrs. Mosley aged, she reached a time when she no longer taught primaries or displayed the Easter tomb. But she and her family, husband Curtis and sons John and Carl, continued to be the most faithful members of our church. They once received an award for not missing Sunday School for over ten years.
One by one her family passed away. First her husband died. Then in a two year period in the early 1990’s, both John and Carl died. She was left alone at her home on Greentown Road. Her health continued to decline but her love for God and faithfulness to her church never wavered.
I was gone to Tennessee when she died. I was unable to attend her funeral, something I’ve always regretted. When I returned home, I went to her grave at Lindsey Cemetery.
As I stood there it hit me:
Really, Mrs. Mosley is not here. Only her body is buried here. Her tomb is empty also.
The real Lucille Mosley- her soul- is with Jesus.
It’s been many years since my first encounter with Mrs. Mosley’s Easter tomb, but I always think about it each year at Easter time. I’m so thankful for the dedication of this simple country woman who left so many impressions on my life.
And even now I run with childlike wonder on Easter morning to be reminded of the glorious truth of the gospel- That Jesus is the Son of God and He is alive.
The tomb is still empty!
I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
– The Words of Jesus in John 11:25-26