Easter Sunday

t is risen. He is risen indeed.

That being said, what else is there to say?

Lord, show me the place in me where the stone is rolled away. It’s easy for me to participate in commemorations of suffering and loss; they come so naturally. Joy and resurrection are more difficult.

In me is a garden. I know this. Visualisation, yes, but not only.. There’s a hill at the back of it where water comes falling down. When I was younger I could climb it and find the pool at the top, and see the black swans that frequented it. There are, or were, last time I was there, little dwarf pines there, and rock, and something like heather..

The water comes down in a little cascade, so gentle that it’s almost possible to think that it’s falling up, not down. And I think maybe there are multiple cascades, that the one with the swans is only one stair in the staircase, just the highest I ever went.

There’s another pool at the bottom. A weeping willow leans over it, and part of the pool dreams inside the tent the willow branches make. I spent more time there as a child than I do now. Once a darning needle, fiery blue sliver of life, came in through the curtain of willow leaves and sat on a stone. To go in there now feels like risking everything.

Off to the left and right of the waterfall the rock wall is more like a rock garden. Little pink flowers with furry leaves nestle confidently among the stones. In a different climate there would be lizards among them. Sometimes long ago I would pretend I was John Ridd, and that my sweetheart Lorna Doone made her home at the top of those crags, that the flowers and little Bonsai shrubs that grew among the rocks had been planted and cultivated by her in the years when she waited for me to come.

I’m looking now for the place where the sweetness and sorrow of the past are ruptured by the sword of Now. I’m looking for the Tomb. And I hardly dare to find it. I’m looking for the Tomb.

It’s tricky, because I can beguile and intoxicate myself with language. At the same time I have to use language to do this. I’ve never been a big fan of lucid dreaming. It seems to me that our dreams are messages, and that we’d do well not to manipulate them. but writing is pretty much the same as lucid dreaming. The images are captive in the language, and the language, bless its heart, is never free of its own agenda.

I’m afraid because if I come upon the Tomb, and find it empty, I will never know if it was so, or if it was just my own web-spinning. So I dawdle as I wander along the rock-wall, beguiled by tiny golden spiders,]

Something in me is saying “Hurry now. Hurry.” I go slower. I want this too much. And as I do I know the Tomb isn’t in the garden. Not like that. I feel something moving in me and I know that. My body’s a somewhat more reliable medium than language.

Last year at an Easter worship service I found myself rising to my feet, and stepping to the front of the room. This is not characteristic of me, and I had no idea what I would do when I got there. Nor did anyone else.

I stood for a minute, and then found myself kneeling, stretching out my arms, crying out quite loudly “The stone is rolled away! The stone is rolled away!”

This time I’m alone in my house, and it’s full of spring sunshine.

The garden is shaken once, twice, several times. A few years ago I experienced an earthquake, woke to find my bed being roughly shaken. I was delighted by the experience. The garden is shaking now.

Again, I pull back from language, check back with my body. Language can only exist in the past.

I don’t know how to describe what I’m feeling now. It’s like hearing a call, almost on a cellular level. It’s not exactly ‘hearing’. It’s like feeling corpuscles of light bubbling in me or something. I start smiling.

Of course the stone is rolled away. Out of respect one relives the sorrow and fear, but always knowing that it’s done once and for all, that Easter is the enactment, not the real thing.

That being so, the garden shakes again. There’s a little landslide, upsetting spiders and uprooting a few plants. Like quantum particles the stone is everywhere but you can’t pin it down. The stone is in my heart. It’s my refusal of joy, my refusal of the Resurrection. The Risen Lord is behind it. The joy isn’t the easy cheerful bonhomie of a happy congregation. It’s more intolerable than that. It could smash everything.

Can I let it?

I think of John Donne crying out “Batter my heart three-person’d God.” For sure, but it puts the whole process in the future. Always we want to put things in the past or in the future, never in the present. The fact of Donne’s heart not yet being besieged and won gives him some excuse. God is in the Now. Now is everywhere, but you can’t hold it. Nor can you ever get out of it, so you’d best release into the Now anything that you care about.

The heart that beats also loves. They’re the same heart. The heart that pumps blood pumps love. My broken heart is the Stone.

It’s time now. Christ is risen.

I think of John Donne crying out “Batter my heart three-person’d God.” For sure, but it puts the whole process in the future. Always we want to put things in the past or in the future, never in the present. The fact of Donne’s heart not yet being besieged and won gives him some excuse. God is in the Now. Now is everywhere, but you can’t hold it. Nor can you ever get out of it, so you’d best release into the Now anything that you care about.

The heart that beats also loves. They’re the same heart. The heart that pumps blood pumps love. My broken heart is the Stone.

It’s time now. Christ is risen.