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 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 fingers and toes,
The same valved heart
That – pierced – died, withered decayed, and
Then regathered out of his father’s might
New strength to enclose.
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
Analogy, side-stepping transcendence;
Making of the even 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 each of us
The wide light of day…
Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
For our convenience, our own sense of beauty,
Lest awakened in one unthinkable hour, we
Are embarrassed by the miracle,
And crushed by remonstrance.
John Updike (1932-2009), Seven Stanzas at Easter, 1993.