Westminster Abbey is an elegant stone cathedral situated in London not far from the banks of the River Thames. It has been a religious and cultural center for more than 900 years. All but two British monarchs since 1066 A.D. were crowned there, many were married there, and many are buried there.
When I finished serving a mission in England, I visited this celebrated place. I wandered through the main worship hall and down side corridors. As I strolled and marveled at the building’s immensity and beauty, I happened upon several burial vaults. I looked at the names and was surprised by their familiarity: Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens. There were others—famous statesmen, lauded thinkers, and British royalty. Their names resounded from my history textbooks.
I was particularly taken by the graves of the kings and queens. They ruled the British Empire; they had earthly power few can fathom; they were among the most influential people on earth during their time.
But I couldn’t help wondering where their power was now. They have returned to dust. “If you slid aside the stones on top of their tombs,” I thought, “you would find their mortal remains.” And I wondered, “What influence do these kings and queens have today?”
Then I thought of the King of kings. His tomb is empty. There were no mortal remains when the stone was rolled away. He is risen in immortality, and He lives.
“Where is His influence today?” I thought as I reflected on my last 18 months teaching the people of northern England—not about Queen Elizabeth, not about Charles Dickens, but about Jesus Christ. I thought about the building I was standing in, which, even without the fulness of the gospel, was built to proclaim the Savior’s teachings. I thought of my own feelings for Him.
At that moment I understood the Resurrection in a way I had not before. His tomb is indeed empty. He is indeed risen. He does indeed live. And His influence continues to change hearts, minds, and lives in a profound and everlasting way.