These words from Gerard Manley Hopkins in his poem, “The Wreck of the Deutschland,” have been hovering in and around my spirit in this past week. Holy Week is always about what seems to be the painfully slow journey of Jesus throughout Jerusalem to the cross. It is a process, a horrific unfolding of the sorrow and pain of pathway to the crucifixion and all its collateral pain–betrayal, denial, abuse–physical, emotional and spiritual. And then, we read, it is finished. It has taken a long time. Hopkins prompts me to reflect that the in-breaking of Easter is also a process that takes time.
Certainly those first witnesses to the resurrection needed time to comprehend it–to take it in. Mary Magdalene did not recognize the Risen Christ at first, and when she did, it took time for her to understand that all the rules had changed, that she was part of a new reality in God’s presence in the world. Thomas just didn’t believe it. The disciples on the way to Emmaus struggles to understand the conflicting reports of the disposition of Jesus’ body. It seems that most of the “faithful” were afraid. Easter did not magically change the grief of the previous week into celebrating.
I am trusting that there will be am “eastering” process in me in these next weeks of Eastertide between Sunday and Pentecost on June 8, that turning my attention to look for the places where I can see the presence of Christ, I too will increase my capacity to let the Light of Easter into my world-view. that my dimness will be illuminated incrementally by the dayspring, that I will trust that the Light has not been put out, but keeps rising with healing in its wings.
My Lenten practices proved to prepare the ground for the emerging process of eastering before me. Some of my practices proved invaluable to getting to this Triduum, these days of Mystery. I want to keep practicing them in Eastertide. With others I found it harder to be faithful–I uncovered resistances, forgetfulness, sloth getting in my way. And so I want to continue to open my heart to the “crimson-cresseted east” by continuing those practices as I allow the process of Christ eastering in me to give me hope, energy and vision for the work and loving to which I am called.
Today, this Good Friday is early to be making this proclamation, but I proclaim it anyway–Christ is risen; he is risen indeed!