Sunday, April 16, 2017

Christ is Risen!

Here's a poem I wrote some years ago to celebrate Easter morning. I was struck by the way that, although the crucifixion was very public, and was accompanied, according to the Gospels, by darkness over the earth and earthquakes, the resurrection appearances weren't grand spectacles, but "small, domestic tales". Two tired people on the road to Emmaus, a bunch of disciples hiding in a locked room, Thomas, who had felt left out, a weeping woman, grief struck because she had lost her friend: these were the encounters which people had with the risen Christ. They were about individuals , their regrets, guilt, disappointments and sorrows, and yet, this is what the grand sorrows of the world are made up of, and so it can only be in the healing of these sorrows that the healing of the world can happen, in the small, intimate spaces of people's real lives, as they find hope, forgiveness and joy in the risen Christ. 

Anyway - here is the poem (from my poetry blog here) , and a lovely hopeful piece of music after it. 


On Friday night
creation howled
as sorrow's needles snagged the earth's loose woven cloth,
and pulled its sinew threads together
tight against the pain.

On Friday night

the world, round mouthed with horror, echoed
wood to nails, rope to stone
"life killed
love lost ;
fire quenched
hope disappointed."
And our God was silent
as the lights went out.

On Saturday

we listened, hearing noises in the darkness.
But it was nothing.
Just the rattling of our fears.

But on Sunday, though we'd stopped our ears,

a wondering whisper crept beneath the door,
tossed on the gleeful winds.

"A strange man

newly come to town
found loitering,
by the roadsides,
in the graveyard,
half known in the firelight
spinning stories."

And hearth to hearth told small, domestic tales of resurrection.

On Sunday, when we listened, and heard at last,

our Christ strolled laughing, back from Hell
with all our ransomed lives
stuffed in his knapsack.

Easter 1990

This piece of music is one of my favourites. It is the final movement from the ballet suite by Hugo Alfven, The Prodigal Son. To me, it is the moment when the younger son, who has wasted all the inheritance he demanded from his father on wine, women and song in a foreign country, finally comes home, not hoping for anything more than a position as a servant. The solo violin at the start (you can't hear it too well on this recording, because of all the other noise), to me, is the son realising that he has been forgiven and taken back into the heart of the family. (I preached on this theme on Good Friday - sermon here

This recording is the encore from a concert by the Baltic Sea Youth Philharmonic. Orchestra, who bring just the right youthful exuberance to the piece. Hugo Alfven was a Swedish composer, whose music was often inspired by Scandinavian folk music and folklore. He is regarded as something of a national composer in Sweden. 

Enjoy! Happy Easter from me, and all at Seal Church.

There's another version of it here - this piece starts at 16.18.

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