Safe in their Alabaster Chambers (Poem 124)
(By Emily Dickinson)
Safe in their Alabaster Chambers -
Untouched by Morning -
and untouched by noon -
Sleep the meek members of the Resurrection,
Rafter of Satin and Roof of Stone -
Grand go the Years,
In the Crescent above them -
Worlds scoop their Arcs -
and Firmaments - row -
Diadems - drop -
And Doges surrender -
Soundless as Dots,
On a Disk of Snow.
Since today is Good Friday, I figured that we would celebrate the Easter festivities with some white flowers and poetry from Emily Dickinson. To be honest, this isn't one of my favorite from among her works, but, today, it feels right with me, more personally significant. I guess that I've been thinking of death a whole lot these past few months. ;-)
For Christian, this time of year is a reminder of the eternal life which we receive through God's grace and our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus. In the early Church, the apocalyptic hopes of the faithful led them to believe that the End Times were upon them. As the years progressed, the Second Coming and Judgement Day started getting more remote into an unspecified future.
Sure, the Dead would rise to gain their final rewards, but the Son of Man left the believers waiting year upon year, century upon century. Grand go the years, without a peep from the Risen Lord. And still people wait, living their lives in preparation for a promised future life, losing opportunities in the Present with the hope of unimaginable treasures in the Future.
I don't think that I can hold my objections anymore. The New Testament promises an imminent eschaton, a righteous resolution to the flow of history and an end of suffering for those who have lived in the faith. But two thousand years is an outrageous quantity of time to leave us hanging.
Although I have respect for some of the ethics promoted by Christianity, its promises have been given sufficient time and yet have not been fulfilled. I can't make myself celebrate this as a religious holiday, but I will try to find joy in the secular and folkloric trappings of the season. So, colored eggs and chocolate rabbits are, for me, the reasons for the season. ;-)
And I'll always cherish these things of beauty, Easter flowers and lovely music.
Bach: Chorale from the Easter Cantata BWV 4
Bach: "Blute nur, du liebes Herz!" from St. Matthew Passion
Bach: "Herr, unser Herrscher" from St. John Passion