Glenda Simpkins Hoffman

Easter Sunday was a glorious day to celebrate our risen Lord Jesus. It made me think of the song “Glorious Day” that  recounts what Jesus has done and the difference it makes in our lives. In his life, death, and resurrection, he overcame our greatest problems of sin and death. He has ushered us through the threshold to a new life in his kingdom now and forever. One day our risen and reigning Lord will return. Glorious Day! 

As I am preparing for this week’s sermon on another of Jesus’ resurrection accounts, I thought of John Updike’s wonderful poem “Seven Stanzas at Easter,” which confronts the modern idea that Jesus’ resurrection was some kind of metaphor rather than a historical fact and a physical reality. I’ll talk more about that on Sunday. But for today, may God use this beautiful poem to encourage your faith in Jesus’ resurrection.   

Make no mistake: if he rose at all 
It was as His body; 
If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule 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 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.  

—John Updike, “Seven Stanzas at Easter” (1960) 


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