Vol 9 No. 13 Easter Week


Dear Folks,

We spoke briefly last week of preparing for Easter; we spoke on how important it was to fully
experience and embrace the passion and death of Christ on Good Friday…to wait patiently through
Friday night and Saturday and to anticipate, but with patience and restraint, Easter Sunday morning.
There is no fast tracking this. There is no tumbling to a premature conclusion. This is the one time
in all of time, and especially in the cycle of the year, where our desire for immediate gratification is
forestalled, forbidden, snuffed out and banned. It is the one time when we are forced to experience
things on God’s terms, not our own. It is Easter. It is glorious.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!

I am drawn to Christmas more than I am to Easter. What I really want to say is that I prefer Advent to
Lent, but I do not prefer Christmas day to Easter Sunday in any way, shape or form. I often find myself
with Kerry at sunrise on Bowen on a hilltop greeting the risen Christ, or at Kits Beach with my church,
Kitsilano Christian Community, in the early hour — snatching from all time the crisp clarity of a risen
Christ that eludes a broken world for so much of the rest of the year. I always follow up with another
service, and it is in this context where I fully grasp that my prayer book, if I have one, is the cannon
of music that I sing most especially on Easter morning. There is nothing that compares to taking the
deepest breath I take in a year, and throwing my head back, begin with those words “Christ the Lord
has risen today.” I’d like to share a few prayers and a poem, the first of which is an Easter morning
declaration and poem, and the second of which is a children’s rendering of the same powerful message.
The third is a reminder of the gift of Easter in Christ’s resurrection, and invitation to reframe, rebirth and
re-begin our lives as Christians. Finally, there is the familiar poem that Jonathan Wilson shared with me
years ago, and I have shared often since. The first three come from Gather to Worship.

The Easter Declaration

Christ is risen!


The Lord is risen!

He is risen indeed!

It is fitting that the heavens should rejoice:

And that the earth should be glad,

And that the whole world, both visible and invisible,

Should keep the feast.

For Christ is risen, the everlasting joy.

Now all things are filled with light,

Heaven ,and earth, and all places under the earth.

All creation celebrates the resurrection of Christ.

It is day of resurrection,

Let us be glorious in splendour for the celebration,

And let us embrace one another.

Let us speak also, brothers and sisters,

To those that hate us,

And is the resurrection let us forgive all things.

So let us cry:

Christ has risen from the dead,

By death trampling on death,

And has bestowed life to those who were dead.

A Children’s Prayer

Dear Father,

This is the best day of the year –

The best day of all time.

For on Easter Day we find that Jesus, who was dead,

Is alive again:

And we see his promise that those who put their trust in him

Will not be swept away by deat,

But shall have eternal life.

O this day of light and gladness,

Help us to put darkness out of our lives.

Make us willing and able to change our ways

Of thinking and speaking and doing

Into Easter ways:

So that how we behave

May bear out what we believe,

And so that Christ’s new creation

May become in us not just a hope but a fact;

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

An Invitation to New Beginnings

Almighty God,

Through the raising of your Son from the grave,

You broke the power of death

And condemned death itself to die.

As we celebrate this great triumph

May we also make it a model for our living.

Help us to identify in our lives

All that should rightly die –

Redundant relationships,

Tired habits,

Fruitless longings.

Resurrect in our lives faith, hope and love,

As surely as you raised Jesus Christ

From the grave.

Prayer of John Updike

I include this prayer not simply because it’s good poetry, but because it was written in 1960, a time
when the full force of non-literal interpretations of the Resurrection were in play even more than now.
I believe in the literal bodily resurrection of Jesus, and I place this poem here, not as an apologetic (I’m
tired of those Easter sermons), nor as an argument (it seems so absurd to argue about that for which
has so much evidence abounds). I share the poem because it represents, in Christ’s resurrection, a
reminder of the covenant of grace that we celebrate on Easter Sunday that has changed the world, and
it is a determined, deliberate and defiant declaration on my part that is not intended to “make it so”,
but simply to share with each of us the wonderful truth of it all in history and in our lives.

Seven Stanzas at Easter

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.


Happy Easter.

Christ has Risen.


In Christ,