But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Mark 16: 6-8
It is no wonder that they didn’t get it at first.
The distance from his line to theirs
is years of light –
from sorrow to joy,
despair to hope
death row to picnic in the park.
We still don’t get it.
We still haven’t made the perilous journey
beyond the edges of the known territories.
We want mostly to slouch around the tomb
spicing up death
Misery is kin.
But the man acquainted with grief
is intimate with gladness.
And when they arrived,
he was gone.
just when you think you are going to put your hands
just when it seems to be holding still enough
just when swirling matter and energy
it’s gone to Galilee.
And we are left holding the spices.
Best make a pie
for death will not lie down
to wear grief’s flavor.
There is a joke here,
a cosmic practical joke.
If you go to the tomb
to tend to the dead
and talk to the angel,
you risk losing everything
that holds your life together.
But after you have already
lost most of it anyway
in the event that has brought
you to death’s house,
you really haven’t much to lose.
It is the suffering, the anguish
that has you scurrying at dawn
to touch for one last time
It is there you may see angels,
when all hope is lost,
all reality laid low.
Then the words of angels
will strike you,
and leave you spilling
down the sides of mercy.
Someone is laughing
and you still damp with tears
had hoped to spend the night
in sorrow’s arms.
A rude affront to ones
adjusted to the gloom,
this grinning angel,
garish almost in his gleam.
This post is excerpted from Quem Quaeritis?Whom Are You Seeking by Loretta F. Ross. This readers’ drama has been performed extensively, including a performance by the Metropolitan Memorial Methodist Church in Washington, DC.
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