Two Voices at Easter

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    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.
    Still growing like the dawn
    Until all wind and earth joined song:
    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:
    My Lord is King!

    [illustration] Fear of Hope, by Derek Hegsted

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