This poem by John Updike never ceases to strike me with the awe-inspiring truth that Jesus's resurrection was a literal, flesh-and-blood event, medically impossible, but made possible by God, humanly incomprehensible, but made knowable to us by His Spirit. Christ is risen INDEED!
"7 Stanzas at Easter" by John Updike
Make no mistake: if He rose at all
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. #heisrisen #hope #freedom #resurrection #jesus #christ #easter #heisrisenindeed #johnupdike #7stanzasateaster
As we start a new week, let’s remember this:
Our flesh and our hearts may fail (Ps. 73:26), but His compassions NEVER fail (Lam. 3:22). When we fall short this week, when we make the same mistake yet again, our emotions will try to trick us into thinking that God wants nothing to do with us.
But God’s faithfulness is not dependent on our performance. And His compassions are not dependent on our emotions.
That’s the beauty of the Gospel, that we fall utterly short of God’s standard, but He loves us with a love so strong and sure that He sent His son to die for us (Rom. 5:8). So when we fail, let’s say “no” to shame and see it as a chance to marvel in Christ’s love, a love so powerful and unwavering that nothing we do will make Him change His mind (Rom. 8:38-39). #lamentations3 #compassion #faithfulness #godslove #jesus #christ #gospel #romans5 #romans8 #freedom
There’s a fine line between acting in faith and trying to gain freedom in my own strength.
I tend to think that if I talk about a struggle enough, if I analyze it from every angle and dress it in different words, I’ll be able to finally discover some insight that will set me free once and for all from thought patterns that keep coming back to haunt me.
But I’ve realized the irony: trying to win the battle of the mind with the power of my mind is foolish.
When the Israelites found themselves surrounded on all sides-the Egyptians ready to strike and the Red Sea blocking their way, no human battle strategy could save them. No human battle strategy could save them, but God could, and he would. Moses told the people, “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” (Ex. 14:14) And God fought for them in a way only He was able: he parted the sea and His people walked to freedom.
In the same way, when freedom seems impossible to me, perhaps it’s because I’m trusting in my mind rather than trusting God to defend me. No amount of analysis on my part will lead to freedom; instead, my victory will only come when I rest my weary mind and say, “Lord, only you can fight this battle.” So may I trust His healing process, may I rest my mind, and may I take joy in the fact that He is fighting my battles, and that He always wins.
#surrounded #thisishowifightmybattles #rest #praise #bestill #exodus14 #thelordwillfightforyou #upperroom