~J. Barrie Shepherd
Strip away the perfect lilies
massed along, across the chancel steps,
the bright reflecting sight and sound of brasses,
and the white and gold of paraments and stoles.
Set aside two thousand years, almost, of holy words
and gestures, the jostling flotsam of an epic tidal surge
of global custom and conviction, conquest too.
Try to ignore this new spring sunlight,
the steady warming of the soil, the waking birdsongs,
green and early fragrant air. Reject all this
and you are left with a report, some blood-stained bandages
in a vacated garden cave, several startled temple guards,
a gaggle of bewildered witnesses, and through all this
a dawning hope, so strange yet sure it drives you
to your trembling knees, groping for fresh syllables
and sounds to shape this ever new, yet ancient cry.
The Lord is risen…risen indeed!
Resurrection. It’s a claim so lofty, so mysterious, that only three channels have the power to convey it: poetry, music, and story. (Notice that “sermons” do not make the list!) Resurrection is the promise that no brokenness and no suffering is beyond God’s ability to make whole. Resurrection is the bright assurance that even when all hope appears to be lost, the Spirit works silently, in the dark of the night, weaving new life out of all that is broken and cast aside. Resurrection happens—in our spirits, in our relationships, in our homes, in our world.
Happy Easter to you,