A Hand Caught Beyond Death’s Grip

I offer this week the closing portion of a Readers’ Drama for Easter, Quem Quaeritis? (Whom Are You Seeking?)  The drama is a conversation among a narrator, the three women who come to the tomb to tend to the body of Jesus, and the angel who meets them with the words, “He is not here. He is risen.” A poetic exploration of the meaning of the resurrection, the drama weaves back and forth between contemporary and historical settings. I wrote it over the course of a year in which I meditated, read, and prayed about the resurrection.
NARRATOR
Christ,
at once giver and receiver,
the one who bore
and was raised
that who thrust forth
and who was penetrated,
the willing victim
the union of opposites
now bids us
rise from the dead kingdom of duality
to a realm of holiness and power
that transcends categories
of human making.
THIRD WOMAN
“See the holes in my palms?
Have you anything to eat –
a bit of fish to chew,
some bread?” he asked,
extending a hand
caught beyond death’s grip.
FIRST WOMAN
On the afternoon of the day my friend died
in a hospital bed in Iowa City,
my daughter and I made cookies.
In the Kansas kitchen overlooking the finch feeder
while seventeen finch gobbled
two pounds of thistle seed
(95 cents a pound at Allen Farm and Feed),
we measured flour and brown sugar
butter and ginger
and mixed them in the yellow bowl.
Patting out the dough on the cookie sheet,
we stopped to taste.
“Umm very good!” she said.
There while she stood on the orange chair
with a brown apron hanging to her ankles,
I saw for the first time
how the smooth curve of her cheek
presses against space
with such exquisite beauty.
SECOND WOMAN
How is it that we have come so far
yet missed so much?
FIRST WOMAN
How is it green fields tumble in the wind
and tulips pierce last fall’s leaves,
spearing death neatly
with pale green blades?
SECOND WOMAN
How is it that we
afflicted with resurrection fever
drowse through it all
like sleepwalkers?
We hobble over the land,
our actions:  jerks and twitches
random, impotent tossings in our sleep.
THIRD WOMAN
The hand I clasp
has a hole in it.
The cheek I kiss
wears the odor of nard.
The eyes I behold
contain celestial vistas.
THE ANGEL
Once divinity
sprouted
underneath a woman’s heart.
She who had been so empty
walked in fullness.
Now Earth,
who carried patiently
the son of humanity as he ripened,
contracted
the forces of deliverance,
squeezed him
through the narrow channel of the cross,
disgorged the stone
in a rush of living water,
and thrust him
wet and slippery
into the arms
of the astonished church,
which at the same instant
held
the body of Christ
and became it.
ALL WOMEN
Oh then Mary’s joy
swelled into our song.
FIRST WOMAN
And we,
SECOND WOMAN
magnified by our plentitude,
FIRST WOMAN
spied Infinity kicking
in our finitude.
THE ANGEL
He is here.
Read more about prayer at
www.fromholyground.org, www.theprayinglife.wordpress.com
Tracking Holiness – Newsletter
Contact Loretta at
lross@fromholyground.org, www.fbook.me/sanctuary
Follow at http://twitter.com/lfross
Become a fan of the The Sanctuary Foundation for Prayer


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One response to “A Hand Caught Beyond Death’s Grip

  1. Awesome! Great post.

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