I would like to say how, and in what way, this day matters. Why Easter still matters. How the story matters.
I would like to explain how Easter may be a comfort to the family of Cindy Gladue; to the parents of all the students murdered in Garrisa, Kenya, on Thursday; to my gay brother-in-law who many years ago, in his isolation and anguish, killed himself; to the billion sorrowing ones. I would like to imagine, how for every “He is risen,” hailed today in all the Christian churches, a life may be spared.
I am in the woods today. Last evening I watched the sun retreat behind the still barren trees. Across the yard I saw a single filament from an old spider web, that, I guess, had hung on through the winter. It was held between to young poplar trees and I saw it only because the sun saw it. It lit up, it flashed and flashed with the merest movements—a slight tightrope, the light ran back and forth at the hint of a breeze. I watched it until the sun left.
There are times I can’t make sense of Easter. And it seems to get harder all the time. Often I just don’t notice it, can’t see it. It stays hidden.
Out of sight, forgotten in the houses of justice, forgotten in the streets, forgotten in the “He is risen” churches that yet believe in the redemptive violence of our wars, forgotten in my own heart.
Yesterday I read a poem by Christian Wiman. It’s a loose translation of a few lines from somewhere in Dante’s Paradiso:
Into the instant’s bliss never came one soul
Whose soul was not possessed by Christ,
Even in the eons Christ was not.
And still: some who cry the name of Christ
Live more remote from love
Than some who cry to a void they cannot name.
The moon was full last night. The sky this morning is clear. As I write this the sun is just coming up, hitting the tops of the 70 foot poplars. Outside, under their black cowls, the chickadees are just beginning their singing. They would like to remind me, I gather, how holy this day is. But a day for them is always new and unlike any other day. Still, I want to listen. I would like to rise to that today—for the sake of all other days.