Sunday, April 12, 2009

He is Risen

Seven Stanzas at Easter

by John Updike (b. 1932)

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-mâché,
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.

Matthew 28:1-10

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

Enjoy a few words from Matthew, and then the glorious Easter Song from the late, great, Keith Green.

Don't you just love the scene when Jesus meets the women, they worship and then he hugs them? I wish each of you a blessed Easter!



Gilly said...

Happy Easter, Singing Owl. And thank hyou!

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

He is risen indeed! Happy Easter!

Ruth said...

He *is* risen indeed!! Thank you. I hope your Easter service goes well and you have a lovely time with your family.

lorna (see throughfaith) said...

love how he takes their veils off.

Sally said...

Wonderful, wishing you many Easter blessings Singing Owl and resurrection hope!

Crimson Rambler said...

I do so love the Updike poem too, Owl, I read it in last year's Easter sermon. The general reaction was "huh?" but I don't care! Have you seen Updike's final poems -- there was a selection in the New Yorker recently. Heart-rending!

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

No, haven't seen them. I love his work tho