Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday?

Five years ago today when Justin was 8, he was hurt by another boy on the playground.  Since then we call Good Friday, "bad Friday."  I wrote about it here.

Anne Sexton (1928-1974)
There's not much that I can add to what I wrote last year - but it's refreshing to see that there are others burdened by Good Friday and Easter too for that matter.  Anne Sexton (1928-1974) was a poet famous for her highly personal poems.  She wrote from the 1950's until her death, she also won a Pulitzer Prize in 1967.   I came across her poem, Protestant Easter, this morning.

For the past few months I have enjoyed an app. on my cellphone called, Show of Hands.  Its a Mobile Poll that asks all sorts of interesting questions.  Just the other day there were questions about the election, fast food, and whether or not I'd be attending religious services on Easter Sunday.  I was surprised to see that only 42% of the over 15,000 people who responded are going to a worship service this weekend!  There must be something terribly wrong about how we've been sharing the 'Good News' of God's love and grace if such a high percentage of folks don't want anything to do with the biggest celebration of our faith.

Perhaps this poem by Anne Sexton, written from the point of view of an 8 year old, is a clue about how we seem to those on the outside.   I find it an interesting lens to view Easter as I ponder what happened on the cross so many years ago.

"Protestant Easter" by Anne Sexton

eight years old

When he was a little boy
Jesus was good all the time.
No wonder that he grew up to be such a big shot
who could forgive people so much.
When he died everyone was mean.
Later on he rose when no one else was looking.
Either he was hiding or else
he went up.
Maybe he was only hiding?
Maybe he could fly?

Yesterday I found a purple crocus
blowing its way out of the snow.
It was all alone.
It was getting its work done.
Maybe Jesus was only getting his work done
and letting God blow him off the Cross
and maybe he was afraid for a minute
so he hid under the big stones.
He was smart to go to sleep up there
even though his mother got so sad
and let them put him in a cave.
I sat in a tunnel when I was five.
That tunnel, my mother said,
went straight into the big river
and so I never went again.
Maybe Jesus knew my tunnel
and crawled right through to the river
so he could wash all the blood off.
Maybe he only meant to get clean
and then come back again?
Don't tell me that he went up in smoke
like Daddy's cigar!
He didn't blow out like a match!
It is special
being here at Easter
with the Cross they built like a capital T.
The ceiling is an upside-down rowboat.
I usually count its ribs.
Maybe he was drowning?
Or maybe we are all upside down?
I can see the face of a mouse inside
of all that stained-glass window.
Well, it could be a mouse!
Once I thought the Bunny Rabbit was special
and I hunted for eggs.
That's when I was seven.
I'm grownup now. Now it's really Jesus.
I just have to get Him straight.
And right now.

Who are we anyhow?
What do we belong to?
Are we a we?
I think that he rose
but I'm not quite sure
and they don't really say
singing their Alleluia
in the churchy way.
Jesus was on that Cross.
After that they pounded nails into his hands.
After that, well, after that,
everyone wore hats
and then there was a big stone rolled away
and then almost everyone --
the ones who sit up straight --
looked at the ceiling.

Alleluia they sing.
They don't know.
They don't care if he was hiding or flying.
Well, it doesn't matter how he got there.
It matters where he was going.
The important thing for me
is that I'm wearing white gloves.
I always sit straight.
I keep on looking at the ceiling.
And about Jesus,
they couldn't be sure of it,
not so sure of it anyhow,
so they decided to become Protestants.
Those are the people that sing
when they aren't quite

- Anne Sexton, from Live or Die, 1966 Houghton Mifflin Co.

1 comment:

  1. The people who sing when they aren't quite sure....:)