As I do every year at this season, I share a poem by the late Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist, short-story writer, and poet John Updike (1932-2009) that I have long loved:
“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.
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.
Among other things on this Easter weekend, my wife and I really enjoyed the Tabernacle Choir’s online concert performance of Handel’s Messiah. I recommend it:
Actually, we’ve been doing a whole lot of music listening of late, being housebound as we are — including Johann Sebastian Matthäus-Passion and his Johannes-Passion. Great stuff. Both directly relevant to Holy Week and Easter.
Today, as part of our Easter observance, we watched again the remarkable final General Conference address of Elder Bruce R. McConkie, of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, delivered less than two weeks before his death from cancer on 19 April 1985:
Then, without prior planning, we ended up watching — and really enjoying — a thirteen- or fourteen-minute video collection called
It was quite moving to us.
Happy Easter to all!