Sunday, 20 April 2014

Over the Cliff*

The day he died we all went right over the cliff. Hearts in our throats, lungs screaming noiselessly for air. How could he be taken? He, who carried all our hopes in hands of power – a grip now broken asunder. Now we are left powerless, helpless, without him. The world has been ripped out from under our feet, and this is a freefall of deepest grief and confusion. He is not here, and all is lost, we are lost and flailing.

After the fall, the silence. The silence of empty air, empty promises. We are simply scattered ashes in the vacuum of his absence. Waiting for we know not what.

Has it been three hours? Three days? Three years?

Then, the echo of distant matter. The rumble of some new reality. Is this the bottom of the chasm? Is this death come to swallow us up too?

But what our blinded eyes struggle to see, our faces and fingers begin to feel. Water. Falling with us. The spray becomes a stream, and we are soaked but not submerged. We are landing, if such a term could be used, in a river running downward.

And suddenly, rising up from below us, a figure emerges, as if from an underground spring. We thought we left him at the top, but here he comes, racing up from the depths with the glint of triumph in his eyes, grabbing hold of these trembling hands with the grip of life, and he has caught us. The river explodes around us and for the first time since we fell we can fill our lungs because he is alive and that is the only air we can breathe. He is alive and those are the only words that matter.

The river carries us all with a rushing buoyancy, and we know that this descent has somehow saved us, because it somehow killed us, but he has brought us back to life.

*for Calvary Church


Friday, 18 April 2014

Sweet Friday

Good Friday morning and the ground is still frozen. The sun is out but the earth is slow to wake. Three holes pierce our giant maple, and the sap is running. The season was slow in coming. We’d all wished for warmer weather by now. But this latest dive into frosty nights has meant a resurgence in sap flow. Today the tree gushes blood, clear and sweet, pouring out its spring offering.  We gather the miracle water in buckets, bring it in and boil it up, till the house hangs heavy with the scent of maple.

Not everything is as we wish. Some days are colder than the calendar reads, and some winters are longer than our hearts can bear. But come to the tree, put your arms around its old rugged trunk, and you’ll hear the life rising within. Three holes pierce and water is turned to wine. Taste and see that the blood is sweet. Yes, the earth will turn and the seasons will shift and flowers will blossom from twisted thorns. The tree knows.

The syrup is thick and golden on our tongues. We give thanks for these frozen nights, these dripping wounds. We give thanks for the lifeblood of creation that makes this Friday Good.


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