I love church on Easter Sunday. It’s a party. The music rocks harder. People dance. Everybody comes in smiling. And after six weeks of a quiet, somber end to church, we get to say Alleluia again.
Last year Milo banished us to the cry room and Lexi threw a fit when we went up for communion. This year Milo seemed to want to sing in the choir, even though we don’t have a choir. Lexi did fine at communion, pausing to lean Pinky against the kneeler before she stood at the communion rail. After church I didn’t have much time to talk to anyone because Milo made a beeline for the door and we spent a while playing in the grass.
This year the sermon closed with a reading of John Updike’s “Seven Stanzas at Easter.” I’d never heard it before and find Updike to be very hit or miss, but this was good. The poem focused on the importance of Christ’s bodily ressurrection—that Jesus literally came back from the dead. Updike focus more on the reality of it, but a few lines reminded me of the very Buffy the Vampire Slayer nature of the ressurrection. The grave was empty. The body was gone. And he was walking around. Not all putrified zombie corpse, but whole and restored. That’s crazy. And that’s the point. From Updike:
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. …
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.
I was also reminded this morning that 42 years ago today Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. It seems fitting that once in a while the anniversary should fall on Easter. Because despite that tragic loss, hope rises again. King’s civil rights movement has changed the face of America. We wil always have so far to go to reach the mountaintop, but we’ve come a long way. Reminds me of a little more poetry, this time from U2’s “Pride”:
Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride
In the name of love
One more in the name of love
In the name of love
What more in the name of love?