Signpost for Sunday 5 April 2015, Easter Day: Isa 25:6-9; Ps 118: 1-2, 14-24; 1 Cor 15:1-11; John 20: 1-18 or Mark 16: 1-8
Easter is more than Sunday; it’s arguably the most dramatic long weekend in the history of the world. So please excuse me if, rather than talking about empty tombs, angels or gardeners, I reflect upon how that weekend might have begun for those close to Yeshua bin Yosef and those first century locals who may not have ever met him. These two poems are my way of doing that:
The table was booked for thirteen, an odd number
Bread crumbs stale as old wives’ tales
Are scattered across it now
A little wine left in the cups
Bones on plates, picked clean
Stains on the table cloth suggest deep conversations
While the scent of herbs, spices and sweat
Waltzes with smoke in the low light of lamps
Almost ready to be extinguished
This place was full of
Boasting and belching
Oaths being sworn
Promises made and soon to be broken
The way rooms filled with men often are
Then came the ceremony
Only one of them understood
Eating a man’s flesh
Drinking a man’s blood
On the night before he died
One guest left early
But the others stayed on
The room emptied slowly
Lke a jar of honey
The door, swinging on its hinges
Motioned each man forward, as if to say
This is the only way out
We thought they must be building
Something on the hill.
The hammering got louder as we climbed,
sharp noise ricocheted off dull stones.
We heard them banging nails in
without much thought.
We imagined perfectly good wood
split and bruised by shoddy work.
And we came over the brow
just in time to see
a hammer smash down
upon a thumb.
But no-one swore.
There was dead silence
as one almost apologetic soldier
dropping the hammer from his hand,
looked down and recognised
an only child.