it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
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-mâché,
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 will 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.
—"Seven Stanzas at Easter",
John Updike, 1960.
Phôs hilaròn hagías dóxēs, athanátou Patrós,
ouraníou, hagíou, mákaros, Iēsoû Christé,
elthóntes epì tḕn hēlíou dýsin, idóntes phôs hesperinón,
hymnoûmen Patéra, Hyión, kaì Hágion Pneûma, Theón.
Áxión se en pâsi kairoîs hymneîsthai phōnaîs aisíais,
Hyiè Theoû, zoḕn ho didoús, diò ho kósmos sè doxázei.
When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die. It may be a death like that of the first disciples who had to leave home and work to follow Him, or it may be a death like Luther’s, who had to leave the monastery and go out into the world. But it is the same death every time—death in Jesus Christ, the death of the old man at his call.
—Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
But how do you wake a man knocked cold by love? Because, as he told me later, that’s what it was: the electric unearned love of the great Creator, traveling like light down the nerves of the Reverend Johnny’s arms, crackling out the tips of his fingers. […] I can feel it still, that sizzling jump inside my organs. It didn’t feel good, not as I would’ve suspected the touch of the Lord might feel, but I wouldn’t say it felt bad either. It only felt powerful, like truth unhusked.
—Peace Like a River, chapter 3
You are not big enough to accuse the whole age effectively, but let us say you are in dissent. You are in no position to issue commands, but you can speak words of hope. Shall this be the substance of your message? Be human in this most inhuman of ages; guard the image of man for it is the image of God.