how faint a whisper

glimpses of God in a heaven-crammed earth

Easter weekend

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Thursday

As often as the story seems to start
with the lone figure, bleeding in the garden
it really began yesterday
and every day before.

I forget to remember,
vision narrowed in my circumstantial tunnel
that He was in the beginning with God.
With God. Eternally present,
He entered time.

Do I feel the ache of the world?
How he must have felt
every day, the irrepressible longing
of that which is, but not yet,
but had been for Him, and which He gave up, of love
for this world, of love
for His Father’s glory, of love
for His Father’s will.

And this Man of Sorrows,
with the world on His shoulders,
casts in light my easy load.*
Reminds me I do not own even this – my suffering.**
But the right is lost
in the 10,000 days which He lived, and waited,
and longed, and all the while knew
it was coming to this night of anguish.

But I, like His friends, can only live one day at a time,
see only my pain, feel only my weariness,
and selfish to the core,
I have fallen asleep.

Friday 

The church is dark tonight.
Why? The world is dark enough.
But these evening shadows
reflect that mid-day darkness
black as we have never known.
Even my soul feels dark
and the church meets that tonight as well.

We end in silence.
And how rare its reverberations
amidst the clamor of the world
to stop, and say
we will reflect that day
when the loudest shout of history
echoed in silence.
When the closeness of God,
tearing heaven’s curtain,
arrived only in the moment
He turned from His Son.

And we sit in this building,
around this table,
in our homes.
Or we walk city streets,
forest paths,
country lanes
tonight
and God is present.
Sometimes shouting, sometimes silent,
in this sometimes dark sometimes light world,
reminding us that both are true,
in the same way that there is no deeper gratefulness
than that we have a reason to weep tonight.
So we join the church in its darkness.
We join each other in silence.

Saturday 

So little we know of this day
except that it came.
Their eyes opened in the briefest moment of peace
before the floodgates of memory opened to grief,
in an instant realizing that despite their depth of desire otherwise,
they awoke.
The sun had risen.
They were alive, and He was dead.

Where was He?
The eternal One, in union with God,
where could death take Him?
And did any piece of the world feel His leaving?
The cold grave stones,
the night-settled dust,
the grain, still reaching in its growth
toward the sky, still blue.
But as all appeared unchanged,
the rumbling, trembling anticipation of heaven
knew, as no one else did,
that this day would ever after be understood
in the knowledge
that tomorrow has come.

I try to understand what they must have felt
fighting the welling tide of hopelessness,
feeling that the worst had come true:
the world was the same.
I try to understand, but I can’t.
Every one of my days only makes sense
in the light of tomorrow.
And the darkest of my valleys
are still only but the shadow of death
and will never be as dark
as that Saturday’s sunrise.

Sunday

We had egg sandwiches for breakfast
in aprons over Sunday dresses.
It could not be more ordinary
this extraordinary day.
And isn’t that what we celebrate?
For He came back to life – extraordinary!
But what He came back to – life, ordinary.
And what He came back to give us –
life, ordinary.
And in that, an invitation:
We may not yet sleep, but we are always being changed.
For this day must change us,
and in every possible way,
or perhaps we have fallen asleep after all.

So as we sit in church pews this morning, we worship.
As we sing and listen, we worship.
And as we stand up and leave, we worship.
As we eat, and laugh, and walk, and touch,
and drive, and create, and talk, and love.
As we open balcony doors to spring air,
we worship.
For today, He is risen.
And tomorrow, He is risen.
With every breath, He is risen.
In every mile, He is risen.
And in that truth is our life
extraordinary
indeed.

Monday

It was dark Sunday night when I got home
so I didn’t see it,
but in the sweet stillness of spring evenings
I think the world came alive.
Crying life! life! in response to His.
I woke Monday morning to the birds,
the grass green,
the rain healing,
the mud tender.
And my life mirrors the season,
soft between my toes, maybe messy, maybe fragile,
but real. And beautiful.
Reminding me once again to walk in both truths.
And that just as He did,
this world is always proclaiming
that we every day die, and will die someday,
yet every day live, and will live forever.
In this is beauty, brevity, richness, sobriety,
sorrow, and fullness of joy.
What a hope is eternity.
What a wonder it is to live.

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* “I see the Man of Sorrows and His long troubled road. I see the world on His shoulders and my easy load.” – Sara Groves, When the Saints

** “A whole host of self absorbed temptations greet us when we treat suffering as something that belongs to us. This passage [2 Cor 1:3-11] reminds us that our suffering belongs to the Lord. It is an instrument of His purpose in us and for others. The way we suffer must put Christ on center stage. The Redeemer owns our disappointment and fear. He owns our physical and spiritual pain. He owns our rejection and aloneness. He owns our dashed expectations and broken dreams. It all belongs to Him for His purpose. When we feel like dying, He calls us to a greater death. He calls us to die to our suffering so that we may live for Him.” – Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands 

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