Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Dead Rise Up

Death dances through this last week of Lent like a devil in a red dress crooking a jeweled finger in our direction. Tempting us somewhere we want to believe only the wicked go. If we have to walk with death we want winged creatures and white lights by our bedsides. But death was fashioned by the one who made us, sewn with care by the hands of an infinite one who tears temple curtains in two. Are we foolish to believe death is permanent?

Easter will arrive soon, fragrant with hope like the first signs of spring after the black of winter––crocuses emerging from snow, blossoms on trees that days before looked like skeletons, naked bony arms raised in supplication. It’s always the same story, the world opening to bloom after a season of sleep. How we long to remain awake, sun beating on our faces, wind whipping in our midst like spirit-flames. How we fear that long descent into darkness away from everything we do, the decline that returns us to being, where we have only our bodies, broken down at that, to commend us.

Perhaps we are not dead but gone under, like Persephone to an underworld. How many times have you been raised back to life without even dying? What of the thousand daily deaths that make us scratch resurrection from the dirt, clawing with our fingernails until we’re coated with the musky grit of it? All that we’d once given up for dead served to us again, life round and red like a pomegranate.

Easter will dawn soon, rolling around again like a stone pushed away from a tomb. And there we’ll stand confronted by the gaping expanse of nothingness. The tomb empty where there should be a body––a body to rub with aloe and myrrh, a body to wrap tight in burial clothes. A body to tether us to the expected, to bind us to convention.

You think by now, we’d notice, we’d understand––the dead rise up every day.

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