Seven Stanzas at EasterMake no mistake: if He rose at allit was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the moleculesreknit, 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 fuddledeyes of the eleven apostles;it was as His flesh: ours.The same hinged thumbs and toes,the same valved heartthat–pierced–died, withered, paused, and thenregathered out of enduring Mightnew strength to enclose.Let us not mock God with metaphor,analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;making of the event a parable, a sign painted in thefaded 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 slowgrinding of time will eclipse for each of usthe 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 linenspun 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 areembarrassed by the miracle,and crushed by remonstrance.
I love that this was written for a church in the area we used to minister.
I discovered Updike accidentally. As a high school student I stumbled upon Bech is Back (one of my parents may have picked it up at a yard sale or used bookstore) and thoroughly enjoyed it. I read other novels across the years. While I was drawn to his contemporaries Vonnegut and John Irving (especially- discovering him accidentally also), I will be eternally grateful to this wonderfully inauspicious Christian writer that did not wear his faith on his sleeve.