Vol 4 No. 12 Easter

Each year we are embraced by the Easter story. I find that I often experience the person, attitude and perspective of one or more of these maddeningly fractured people in the Easter story as each year passes. Like Judas, I have betrayed the Christ. Like Peter I have denied, if ever so diplomatically, that I know Him. Like the disciples in the Upper room, I fear His absence. Like the Psalmist, I both rail against this God who redeems me and go through the ever repetitive ritual of being reconciled to Him. Like Pilate I wash my hands. Like Barabbas, I wonder why and for whom I was set free. Like the thieves on the cross, I split my attitudes between on the one hand fearing that the Lord will not redeem me from my pain (remember the Psalmist again) and on the other seeking to reconcile with the only one I know that can save me.

I wish I was like the apostle John who even though he stood far off, at least was nearby. I even more fervently wish I could be like Mary who despite the anguish of her loss, stayed close to her dying son so that at least He might be comforted by the sight of her. There is much to be said about the darker side of human nature that would flee form the garden, flog and kill a prophet and the son of God, guard a tomb and seek to destroy the gift of life form God himself. It is these sad things and personal remonstrations that we must all engage as we truly prepare for Good Friday “and beyond”. It is however important to remember that there is “no beyond” Good Friday without first experiencing Good Friday.

And so this week, I invite you to two vistas of the Christian Faith.  The first is found in Matthew 27:45-56. And the second is the wonderful brutal yet beautiful declaration by John Updike of the literalness of the bodily resurrection of Christ. You may remember that this is one of my favourite poems.

“We who dwell in the land of deep darkness on us the light has shone.”Wait through the barrenness of Friday, be still this Saturday and remember that in the death and resurrection of Christ we not only find the most important event of human history, but in receiving him we find ourselves.


In Christ,



Matthew 27:45-56 

From noon until three o’clock, the whole land was covered with darkness. About three o’clock, Jesus cried out in a loud voice. He said, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” This means “My God, my God, why have you deserted me?”—(Psalm 22:1)

Some of those standing there heard Jesus cry out. They said, “He’s calling for Elijah.”

Right away one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar and put it on a stick. He offered it to Jesus to drink. The rest said, “Leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

After Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, he died.

At that moment the temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook. The rocks split. Tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs. After Jesus was raised to life, they went into the holy city. There they appeared to many people.

The Roman commander and those guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened. They were terrified. They exclaimed, “He was surely the Son of God!”

Not very far away, many women were watching. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to take care of his needs. Mary Magdalene was among them. Mary, the mother of James and Joses, was also there. So was the mother of Zebedee’s sons.


Seven Stanzas At Easter

Make no mistake; if he arose at all

it was as His body;

if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the

molecules reknit, the amino acids


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—dies, 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 Plancks 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.