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Seven Stanzas at Easter by John Updike

As part of our Sunday School class, we read and studied this poem by John Updike. I commend it to you as part of your Holy Week meditations.

Best,

Andrew

 

“Seven Stanzas at Easter”

 

Make no mistake: if he rose at all

It was as His body;

If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule

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-mache,

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 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.

About Andrew Taylor-Troutman

I am a pastor and a preacher, a writer, a husband and a father. My professional and personal lives are deeply involved with story-telling: stories that are silly and poignant or profound and commonplace. Stories that are tear-jerkers and belly-shakers. Stories about my son, Sam, and the congregation I serve, New Dublin Presbyterian Church. Each in its own way, these personal narratives shed light on the great story that God is writing with humankind and all of creation.

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