Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Dawn

The dawn is just breaking here on the Southern tip of the U.S.  In earlier years, I might have gotten in an Easter run at the beach.  In even earlier years, my dad and I would have gone for our Easter run in the afternoon.  Today, I'm taking a minute to write, to center myself, before leaping into the relentless pace that this Easter is likely to be:  finishing the bunny cake, spending the morning and early afternoon at church, sharing an Easter meal with friends.

For a more theological meditation, feel free to migrate to today's post on my theology blog.  Or maybe you want to read this surprisingly accessible post by the Bishop of the Lutheran church (ELCA version).  If you're used to a doom and gloom message given to you by religious folks, you won't find them in these posts.

Or maybe you came here hoping for an Easter poem.  Here's one I like, although I suspect that poetry purists would find it too narrative, too much like prose with line breaks.  Other poetry purists won't like it for its religious themes.  So be it.

It appears for the first time here.

Good News

Awash in Paschal mysteries, I awaken early
Easter morning and run to the beach to watch the sun
rise. I know what to watch
for, the luminous presence, the one to call Rabboni.
Instead, I see the usual assortment of homeless
folks, the crazed newspaper carriers, people just off
work from the extremely early or really late
shifts, and me.

My father and I used to run every holiday, hollering
good wishes to everyone who could hear. But this morning,
I find myself mute as Peter, unable to proclaim
a simple Easter greeting. Like Jesus’
Jerusalem, my city situates itself at a distant edge
of a great empire, a crossroads of continents.
What if I, in shouting “Happy Easter!” offend
a Muslim or a Jew? Chances are good that my language
would be incomprehensible anyway. I sit
on the beach, watching the sun struggle
through the clouds, sketching fish in the sand.

On the Intracoastal Waterway bridge, I muster
my courage. This man looks like he could use a friendly
greeting. He has that downtrodden look that could have
a number of causes: chemotherapy? Homelessness? Aging badly?
I smile and say, “Happy Easter!” His face glows
as he returns my greeting, “The Lord is risen.”
I expected, at most, a “Happy Easter” in reply,
but he bestow this great gift,
a reminder of the reason I’ve risen
early. And like any gift of grace, this one multiplies.

Now, like a woman who has returned from an empty
tomb, I race through my neighborhood streets.
Every pedestrian, every driver with an open window,
gets my greeting and a silent benediction,
along with a smile, that universal sign.
I have a second chance—the essential
Easter message. We have as many chances as we need.


Kathleen said...

At my church this morning, where communion is usually a piece of bread and juice, there was also the option of a malted milk chocolate egg. I took the egg!! Happy Bunny Cake.

Kristin Berkey-Abbott said...

I've been thinking about this image for days now--thanks for sharing!