Christ is Risen
He is Risen Indeed

These wonderful declarations and phrases will be echoed around the world in the coming days, a sense of celebration and great joy.

We know that we live in difficult and dangerous times with war and rumours of war, economic, inflationary and climate changes and challenges that have been our collective experience in this last year and a half. The polarization that we are experiencing in so many ways can be a test of our patience and even our faith.

In celebrating Easter may we not forgo the passion, suffering and brutality that is a path through Good Friday that we must reckon with. And in identifying and giving thanks for Christ‘s sacrifice, may we be willing to identify with the suffering of others.

I bring you greetings on behalf of the North American Baptist Fellowship and our President Reverend Dr. Emmett Dunn who is also Executive Secretary-Treasurer of Lott Carey.

John Updike’s wonderful poem about the body resurrection of our Lord “Seven Stanzas at Easter” accompanies this note (below). It was a poem he submitted to a poetry competition at his local Lutheran Church — quite touching and amazing and equal parts!

May we embrace the entirety of this Holy Week and, in giving thanks for Christ’s sacrifice, await with expectation this Easter Sunday Resurrection day — the final challenge to death and the beginning of new life in Christ!

In Christ,
Jeremy Bell
General Secretary
North American Baptist Fellowship

Make no mistake: if He rose at all
it was as His body;
if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the molecules
reknit, the amino acids rekindle,
the Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
each soft Spring recurrent;
it was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled
eyes of the eleven apostles;
it was as His flesh: ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes,
the same valved heart
that–pierced–died, withered, paused, and then
regathered out of enduring Might
new strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping, transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages:
let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mâché,
not a stone in a story,
but the vast rock of materiality that in the slow
grinding of time will eclipse for each of us
the wide light of day.

And if we will have an angel at the tomb,
make it a real angel,
weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair,
opaque in the dawn light, robed in real linen
spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
for our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are
embarrassed by the miracle,
and crushed by remonstrance.


John Updike “Seven Stanzas at Easter”

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