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Excerpt from Threatened With Resurrection
…There is something here within us
Which doesn’t let us sleep, which doesn’t let us rest,
Which doesn’t stop pounding deep inside,
It is the silent, warm weeping of Indian women without their husbands,
It is the sad gaze of the children
Fixed there beyond memory,
In the very pupil of our eyes
Which during sleep, though closed, keep watch
With each contraction of the heart
In every wakening…
What keeps us from sleeping,
Is that they have threatened us with resurrection!
Because at each nightfall,
Though exhausted from the endless inventory
Of killings since 1954,
Yet we continue to love life,
And do not accept their death!
…Because in this marathon of Hope,
there are always others to relieve us
in bearing the courage necessary
to arrive at the goal which lies beyond death…
Accompany us then on this vigil
And you will know what it is to dream!
You will then know how marvelous it is
To live threatened with resurrection!
To dream awake,
To keep watch asleep
To live while dying
And to already know oneself resurrected!
(by Julia Esquivel, Guatemalan poet and theologian, from her book, Threatened With Resurrection: Prayers and Poems from an Exiled Guatemalan, Brethren Press, 2nd Edition, published 1994. Find it Here.)
What is it about Easter? Easter draws wayward and devoted Christians to church like no other. My mother used to call them C & E’s – The Christmas and Easters, people who generally never attended church and probably had no intention of attending church on a regular basis, but always showed up for Christmas and Easter. And Easter more.
I was thinking about that while I sat in Church this morning. Thinking about what it is that calls to people to go to church on Easter. Is it tradition? Happy memories from childhood? A longing? A spiritual need to be connected to others? Obligation? Guilt? I’m sure I’ve gone for all of those reasons.
SP and I went this morning because it felt like the right thing to do. And because lately I always feel better leaving church than I did when I arrived. And because I too have been feeling that incredible longing to be connected to something bigger than myself again. And also because I think the right church empowers you with desire, activism and Hope.
Hope is a funny thing. It can trick you into doing scary things. It can give you a push when you think all is lost. It can hurt and brighten and persuade.
The historical details of the Easter story are fuzzy. And as the Reverend said today at church – agreeing on those details isn’t what matters in this story. In fact he suggested disagreeing, and understanding the story in our own way is what makes life interesting, is what forces us to think and grow and move and change. Don’t get caught up in the details.
For me, the story – and the ultimate connector – is Hope. Hope is what draws people to church. It is the piece of our humanity that draws us all together. It is the spirit inside of us that moves us. And what I was reminded of today in the Easter story is that Jesus was a man of Hope. He was so incredibly hopeful that we as humanity could change for the better that he did unimaginable things. That Hope empowered Him with the courage to start a revolution of love. Can you imagine that? He hoped so hard in our abilities to love one another and care for one another and be better than we knew ourselves to be that He created a radical revolution of kindness. I don’t care what religion you are – radical kindness and revolutionary love sounds pretty amazing to me.
My truth tells me that we humans, we are better than this day to day nonsense that we bicker about. My truth tells me that we are still capable of revolutionary love. And that we have the ability to change our world. We are bigger than our little bodies. And in this “marathon of Hope,” our lives are much bigger than we ever dreamed of.
To me to be threatened with resurrection is to be threatened with the possibilities, to be threatened with change. To recognize that our Hopes can be realized – but we must be empowered to make those changes. I have to allow myself to recognize that there is a different way to live, different from the hardness this world imposes. I too can be part of revolutionary love…of radical kindness.
Happy Easter to those who celebrate. And Happy Hoping to all!