While Joseph reflected on Good Friday last year, we urge you to enjoy this poem from John Updike and Michael Bowman’s reflections so that you can let this year’s celebration of Easter impact your life beyond Easter Sunday. Have a blessed week!
“Seven Stanzas at Easter” by John Updike
Make no mistake: if he rose at all
It was as His body;
If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule 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
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 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.
Through his “Seven Stanzas at Easter,” Updike does a wonderful thing. He captured Easter. I want to join in his call this year, instead of falling victim to what Easter has become. While Easter bunnies, candy, and egg-hunts are all good, I hope we do not miss the point.
The point is the death and resurrection Jesus. If you have grown up in the Church at all, or have been a Christian for any amount of time, you probably understand that everything we believe in hinges upon the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus had just died, then so what? The Resurrection is essential to our lives as Christians. We get it. But let us not take the Resurrection and dim down it’s light. Let it be transcendent.
The hope of this post is not to teach you something new about Christianity. It is here to help your processing of what Easter is this year. Maybe you have been completely numb to the Gospel, and Jesus, and the Church, and Christianity, and everything having to do with Easter for awhile now. Maybe you have been so incredibly busy that you have not had a chance to reflect on Easter at all. That’s okay. Be reminded of why we celebrate, in every sense of the word, Easter.
Let us walk through the door. The tomb is empty. The veil has been torn. He is risen!