Sunday, April 12, 2009

Like a trumpet underground

The year I was living in an intercity commune was one of my most memorable Easters. My housemates and I got up early and made breakfast (“Come and have breakfast,” the resurrected Jesus tells his disciples), and Paul made sure to cook some fish in honor of Easter. Then we sat on the back porch to eat and have a makeshift sunrise service.

Our house happened to be on a busy corner of the neighborhood. In the night it was a major drug corner. But at 8am on Sunday morning, the only people up were the slowly stirring church crowd, a couple of whom were making their way to the Baptist church a few lots down from us to prepare for the service, but most of whom were just beginning to show their faces on the front porches that were a vital part of neighborhood social relations. Some of these porches were connected to the same houses that were buzzing late into the night with the more dubious activities of nocturnal family members.

We read some scripture and prayed, waving our ‘hey’s to neighbors as they trickled by, and Paul pulled out his guitar.
Was it a morning like this
When the Son still hid from Jerusalem,
And Mary rose from her bed
To tend the Lord she thought was dead?

What is a morning like this,
When Mary walked down from Jerusalem,
And two angels stood at the tomb,
Bearers of news she would hear soon?

Did the grass sing?
Did the earth rejoice
To feel you again?
Over and over
Like a trumpet underground,
Did the earth seem to pound:
“He is risen!”
Over and over
In a never ending round
“He is risen, alleluia, alleluia!”
Indeed, the grass does sing and the earth does pound, but it is not the noise I expect to hear. On the contrary, that Easter morning as we sang, Arleen’s ten-year-old might have been at grandma’s house so she could spend the weekend getting high, or the boy might have been hiding Arleen’s bottles in the house as if he were her father. I want the Resurrection to charge its way into Creation ripping the dead from their graves, perhaps like Christ’s first disciples wanted it to reestablish the Jewish nation, and when it doesn’t I assume God is waiting for the Second Coming.

But the grass does sing and the earth does pound. The cosmos have shifted, and the forces that were pulling everything apart are now bringing them together.
  • Russ, a crumbling old KKK veteran whose harshness has driven away any family or friends he might have once had, calls me out of the blue to tell me that he wants his body given to medical research after he dies in hopes that it could help someone. It is a strange call.
He is risen!
  • Benedict drops in to see me when he is in town for a ceremony with his special needs daughter whom he can finally be a father to after his year on the streets.
He is risen!
  • Tia, who is my age but whose development has been stumped somewhere under the pressures of an abusive adoptive family she may never escape, mentions to me that she is reading a book and liking it.
He is risen!
  • Herb is finally out of jail and trying to hold down a job, when I had believed he would spend all of his young-adult life there. Maybe that gives some hope that Sonny will get out and return to his distraught mother one day.
He is risen!
  • Fida, my Muslim friend, calls me one night and spends the whole conversation assuring me that God is redeeming her situation. The next week, it is the so-often-despondent me who is assuring her. Between the two of us, we just might believe.
He is risen!
Over and over like a trumpet underground, Creation is proclaiming that it has changed. Entropy has gone the other way. He is risen! Alleluia!


Chestertonian Rambler said...


Is it just me, or (from following your blog) did you have a better Lent, and less-celebratory Easter last year? In any case, it is good to read your thoughts, even if I almost never comment.

Miss Mapp said...

I love all the ways that you show resurrection to be taking place daily.Thank you.MM

Em the luddite said...

I'm impressed, Rambler. For a guy who doesn't comment much, you remember very well.

Nice to meet you, Miss Mapp. How did you find my blog? In any case, I appreciate the feedback!