The Ending That’s Not the End

As a writer, I feel a great deal of sympathy toward my pastor at Easter. Imagine the pressure of writing a sermon for the biggest day of the Christian year—one that will make an impact on regulars and C&E visitors alike.

I write essays, not sermons, but this Lent season I wrote a short essay for each of Jesus’ seven last words. Now that Easter’s here, I really wanted to write something remarkable about Jesus’ words to reflect the astonishing miracle of Resurrection Day. Didn’t happen.

In contrast to Jesus’ seven last words from the cross, Jesus said a lot of things after the resurrection but before his ascension. He spoke to Mary Magdalene, “doubting” Thomas, Cleopas, Peter, and many others.

Essay-wise, I was coming up empty, so I resorted to poetry, with deference and apologies to George Herbert (1593-1633). Unlike Herbert, I’m not a lyric poet—I’m more an arranger of words. Finding it hard to wrangle Jesus’ post-resurrection words into a short essay, I pieced them into this collage. (Click on the links to read the source text.)

Easter Wings (Red-Letter Remix)

Who is it you are looking for?

Do not hold on to me.

Why are you crying?

I am ascending

to my Father

your Father

Mary.

As the Father

sent me I am sending

you. Peace be with you!

Receive the Holy Spirit. Reach

out your hand. Stop doubting and believe.

Because you have seen me you have believed.

Blessed are those who’ve not seen and yet believe.

Throw your net on the right side of the boat.

Friends, haven’t you any fish?

Do you love me more?

Feed my lambs.

Peter.

Feed my sheep.

Do you love me?

Peter, do you love me?

Follow me. You must follow me.

When you are old you will stretch out your hands.

A ghost does not have flesh and bones.

Look at my hands and my feet.

Do you have anything to eat?

Peace be with you.

Stay in the city

stay until

Peace.

Therefore

go and make

disciples, baptizing them

in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

And to obey everything I’ve commanded.

Surely I am with you always, even to the end.

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