Saturday, April 11, 2009

Why Christ's Physical Resurrection Matters

The Apostle Paul said: "16 if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied." (1 Cor. 15) While many modern so-called churches have forgotten this timeless truth, it still speaks today.

I offer this poem by John Updike as an Easter meditation.

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 - mache,
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.

— From Telephone Poles and Other Poems by John Updike
© 1961 by John Updike

John Updike's take is that if all there is is all we can control, we are dead to truth and beauty, and most to be pitied. This Easter, my prayer for you is a deep encounter with the truth of the Risen Christ - a true human (like you and me) and also true God. As his body has been raised into glorified perfection, so shall ours be. And as his body is one, may he also make his church - his body on earth - to be one. Amen.


Dave Moody said...

Amen! Just finished a section of Wrights "the Resurrection of the Son of God" He has Updikes poem quoted as well...

Excellent biblical study btw..

Bill Crawford said...

1 Corinthians 15

Sam said...

Tough day. Still working on it. Thanks Chris, I like the poem.