Friday, April 13, 2012

keeping easter alive

i've written about this in prior years, but each year after easter i feel a particular pull to make sure that we don't too hastily "move on," and forget about the "he is risen!" joy we've just experienced.  easter isn't a day; it is a way of life.  and so, i thought today, in an effort to keep the newness and the miracle of the resurrection fresh in our minds, i would share this poem by john updike.  i had never read this before until a colleague shared it with me last week, and i was deeply moved by it.  i hope you find it compelling as well, and that you allow resurrection and the hope it gives us to continue to shape you in the journey ahead. 



Make no mistake: if He rose at all

it was as His body;

if the cells' dissolution did not reverse, the molecules

reknit, the amino acids rekindle,

the Church will fall.


It was not as the flowers,

each soft Spring recurrent;

it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled

eyes of the eleven apostles;

it was as His flesh: ours.


The same hinged thumbs and toes,

the same valved heart

that--pierced--died, withered, paused, and then

regathered out of enduring Might

new strength to enclose.


Let us not mock God with metaphor,

analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;

making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the

faded credulity of earlier ages:

let us walk through the door.


The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,

not a stone in a story,

but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow

grinding of time will eclipse for each of us

the wide light of day.


And if we will have an angel at the tomb,

make it a real angel,

weighty with Max Planck's quanta, vivid with hair,

opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen

spun on a definite loom.


Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,

for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,

lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are

embarrassed by the miracle,

and crushed by remonstrance.

-by john updike
from "telephone poles and other poems"
1963

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