The poetry of Easter is so very rich — reaching out as far as we can reach in our limited vocabularies for a way to say what needs to be said. One poem I remember year after year is Easter Communion, by Gerard Manley Hopkins. The words rumble around in the background of my pastoral imagination as I watch the crowds on Sunday assemble in lines to approach the Holy Table — the sanctoral parade of kids and grandkids, moms and dads, collegians home for the week, old friends and new: all the bright spring dresses and wide-brimmed hats, new sport coats, freshly shined shoes. I remember with a smile the story C.S. Lewis tells somewhere of walking to church on Easter morning behind a family with a little girl skipping down the lane and singing to herself, “Chocolate eggs, and Jesus risen!”
Pure fasted faces draw unto this feast:
God comes all sweetness to your Lenten lips.
You striped in secret with breath-taking whips,
Those crooked rough-scored chequers may be pieced
To crosses meant for Jesu’s; you whom the East
With draught of thin and pursuant cold so nips
Breathe Easter now; you serged fellowships,
You vigil-keepers with low flames decreased,
God shall o’er-brim the measures you have spent
With oil of gladness, for sackcloth and frieze
And the ever-fretting shirt of punishment
Give myrrhy-threaded golden folds of ease.
Your scarce-sheathed bones are weary of being bent:
Lo, God shall strengthen all the feeble knees.
A word of encouragement for Easter Week: refreshed, renewed by Word and Sacrament. The means of grace, the hope of glory. As we heard once again on Sunday morning, Mary ran to her friends with the news: “I have seen the Lord.” The news that makes a difference. As in St. Paul’s great affirmation in Romans 8:
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
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