Two Voices at Easter


Mary, Mother of Jesus: Good-bye at Golgotha

I’ve said good-bye a thousand times.
Each mother does,
Then, patient, praying, waits at home.
I said good-bye
When toddler’s feet first moved
Beyond safe whitewashed kitchen door,
When youthful hands
Found Joseph’s dark oak bench and tools
To practice craft of carpenter,
When joyful boy discovered
God’s will writ bold in temple text
And heard bright angels’ promises.
I said good-bye
When John baptized him in the stream
And a lone white dove descended
As emblem of his Father’s love,
When faith turned water into wine
And every miracle in turn
Confirmed that he was God’s
Not mine.
I said good-bye
When neighbor’s stone turned sharp,
Ears closed against his tongue,
And mocking people drove him
From green Galilee.
And finally
Standing in the empty crowd
I saw stupidity not men
Pound spikes into his gentle hands
And cursing lift him up
To goad and mock out loud
Until I said good-bye a thousand times
And fresh salt tears poured down
To mark the ground that we were left upon.
Good-bye my son.
I will be lonely
But not alone.
Good-bye my son.
We’ll wait for you
At home.

Stephen, a Blind Child: Witness to the Resurrection

I will be twelve this year—
Of Levi’s tribe
And might have become a priest
Except I have been blind since three.
A childhood fever’s curse
Has made the scripture hard for me.
And so I was surprised
My mother often let me go alone
To hear Him preach outside the gate.
And though my stumbled path was often late,
I knew He let young children close
To learn the kingdom’s mysteries.
I treasured his soft words,
Not always understood
But warm like summer to my ears.
He taught the songs of faith
That sailors sang on storm-tossed Galilee,
And sometimes when he spoke of love
I almost thought that I could see
His face and glowing sun above—
Such are the dreams of children
Blind since three.
And then dark day in early spring
My mother said I must not go again—
The Romans had imprisoned him
As heretic, she said.
Tense worried tone
Confirmed God’s love
That I and others there
Had felt and known.
Two more nights passed
And then
Before our evening prayer
I felt the whole earth lift and fall
Rocks crying out in pain
As darkened pall slipped across the town
And mother held me comfort close,
Knowing that a god had died,
And seeing and blind eyes both cried.
But that was not the important part.
This morning while the last watch slept
I heard a sound
And rose to feel first cool hill winds
Whisper morning round my floor
And women’s voices hushed below,
Hurrying through still darkened street,
Speaking of angel and empty tomb.
And I thought I saw faint light
But with my real eyes this time—
A growing glow that conquered night
And filled my room
With visual hymn that angels sang
In wondrous unity.
Soft
Still growing like the dawn
Until all wind and earth joined song:
Al-le-lu-ia,
Christ is King!
Ears had dreamed such dream before
But blinded eyes had never seen
Heaven and earth combined in joy—
God’s witness for a blinded boy:
Alleluia,
My Lord is King!

[illustration] Fear of Hope, by Derek Hegsted

[illustration] The Lord Greets Mary after the Resurrection, by William Henry Margetson