I will admit that when I began the committment to read from Orbis Books Bread and Wine (2003), I skipped ahead a bit and read all the poetry. At the beginning of Lent, the poem I’ve quoted here really didn’t make much sense to me. I’m not a person who is often moved by poetry (which you might find strange since I spend a good deal of my life singing various forms of poetry), but this morning in the early hours as I sat with me tea, relaxing that last few precious minutes before the rush of Easter Sunday was upon me, this poem meant a great deal to me. I therefore, share it with you, and say to you, “Christ is Risen!”. I can wait to hear the answer to that time worn greeting later today.
Seven Stanzas at Easter (John Updike)
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 the 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 matierality 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, awaked in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance. (pg. 261-262)
Blessed Easter to you all….