A Sonnet And A Song For Easter Dawn

6 AM Easter Morning.  There is a purple finch warbling ecstatically outside my window as the sun appears once again – as I knew it would.

He is Risen Indeed! This has been the confession of the Church now for over two millennia: that somehow, God has passed through the very life we know –  with all of its surprises, joys and profound pleasures; with its terrors, sorrows and real pain – gathering the whole lot of it into God’s own life, death and resurrection –  redeeming the days and the nights, the ebbs and the flows, the gains and the losses,  the bitters and the sweets… gathering all, redeeming all into a billowing, deafening YESSSS!

One doesn’t have to believe the Christian narrative to have experienced being blindsided by joy; sudden moments of grace pregnant with meaning. Life matters. Matter matters.  Our stories matter. I matter. You matter.  Every once in awhile, even if only for a moment, we know in the very marrow of  our bones that this is true.

And so, even in the midst of our very real disorientation and sufferings, it is good to have a day where we celebrate the “dearest freshness deep-down things… like  shining from shook foil…” (Poem: God’s Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins)

Malcolm GuiteFor my part I offer a sonnet and a song.  The sonnet is a gift of my friend Malcolm Guite who lives in Cambridge England.  I’ve reprinted it here for your convenience but I’d rather you find it on his site where you can listen to him recite it as well.  There’s a unique beauty hearing a poem in the author’s own voice. And for us North Americans, there’s a certain and undeniable charm to an English accent is there not? (see link to Malcolm’s site below)

If you don’t know the story behind the poem, scriptures tell that on Easter morning, Mary Magdalene was grieving the death of her friend. She comes across a man she assumes is the gardener, not recognizing him as Christ until she hears him say her name. It’s a very touching and tender story.

The song is one I recorded on my last CD but was written by my friend Jim Croegaert. Jim is a hospital chaplain in Chicago and one of my favorite songwriters. I’ve recorded many of his songs: Here by the Water, Why Do We Hunger for Beauty, The Angel Gabriel –  to name a few.  Was It A Morning Like This captures the erupting joy of all God’s creation which thrills at the  presence and touch of its maker.

Happy Easter!

Steve Bell

EASTER DAWN  by Malcolm Guite

He blesses every love which weeps and grieves
And now he blesses hers who stood and wept
And would not be consoled, or leave her love’s
Last touching place, but watched as low light crept
Up from the east. A sound behind her stirs
A scatter of bright birdsong through the air.
She turns, but cannot focus through her tears,
Or recognise the Gardener standing there.
She hardly hears his gentle question ‘Why,
Why are you weeping?’, or sees the play of light
That brightens as she chokes out her reply
‘They took my love away, my day is night’
And then she hears her name, she hears Love say
The Word that turns her night, and ours, to Day.

To listen to Malcolm’s poem, Easter Dawn, click HERE…


Was it a Morning Like This | Jim Croegaert

Was it a morning like this
When the sun still hid from Jerusalem
And Mary rose from her bed
To tend the Lord she thought was dead

Was it a morning like this
When Mary walked down from Jerusalem
And two angels stood at the tomb
Bearers of news she would hear soon

Did the grass sing
Did the earth rejoice to feel you again
Over and over like a trumpet underground
Did the earth seem to pound He is risen!
Over and over like in a never ending round
He is risen! Alleluia!

Was it a morning like this
When Peter and John ran from Jerusalem
And as they raced for the tomb
Beneath their feet was there a tune



Was It A Morning Like This was recorded for my 2011 CD Kindness. To preview or purchase, click HERE… 


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