Holy Week — The harrowing

Joseph saw him first,
the man who was an unexpected baby,
boy in a carpenter’s shop,

John, recently passed,
recognized his cousin, playmate,
friend rising from the Jordan
with a dove in his hair.

Then perhaps Abel,
dead since the beginning of brothers —
time not meaning anything in hell —
also, Cain.

Maybe Miriam, playing
the shade of her tambourine,
paused at the shape
of the Word from the beginning,

Isaiah, saw a suffering servant.

Tamar, Rahab, Ruth,
and Bathsheba
reached out a translucent blessing
from his matrilineage,

and thousands upon thousands
of every era and race,
of every faith and way of loving,
manner of life and death,

turned to him.

Peter mentioned in his letter
that Jesus preached,

but not his sermon title —
maybe a familiar parable
or the beatitudes,
or the prayer he taught his disciples.

The dead are already salt of the earth,
and probably know
intimately all four kinds of soil.
and how they’ve treated
the hungry and the naked,
recognized God’s face
in the least,
built their bigger barns,
or put treasure
in right or wrong places
is past for them, as it is for those

we love who have gone before us.

If Jesus had a message
for this sweet and holy Saturday,

I imagine it was the same short homily
he once used before –
talitha cumi – get up little ones.

God, for the communion of saints,
and not so saintly ones, we give thanks,

for they have known in part,
and now they know face to face,
and none is left behind.


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