Like all of us, I have been drawn deeply into this strange Easter when so much of the outwardly familiar has been taken away, and yet the inwardly familiar, the great Easter story of Death and Resurrection, has suddenly been renewed and become more agonisingly close, more vividly relevant to our lives than ever. But, like so many, I am deeply distressed at not being able to gather in church this morning, and to receive communion in community, to meet Christ ‘risen in bread, and revelling in wine’, as I put it in a sonnet long ago. But this Easter he calls me to discern him in new ways and in different places. He is risen indeed, and if I cannot go to church then where am I to find him? That is the question my new poem seeks to address, and if it is a question you ask yourselves too, then I hope you will find this poem helpful.
As always you can hear me read the poem by clicking on the title or the ‘play’ button
And where is Jesus, this strange Easter day?
Not lost in our locked churches, anymore
Than he was sealed in that dark sepulchre.
The locks are loosed; the stone is rolled away,
And he is up and risen, long before,
Alive, at large, and making his strong way
Into the world he gave his life to save,
No need to seek him in his empty grave.
He might have been a wafer in the hands
Of priests this day, or music from the lips
Of red-robed choristers, instead he slips
Away from church, shakes off our linen bands
To don his apron with a nurse: he grips
And lifts a stretcher, soothes with gentle hands
The frail flesh of the dying, gives them hope,
Breathes with the breathless, lends them strength to cope.
On Thursday we applauded, for he came
And served us in a thousand names and faces
Mopping our sickroom floors and catching traces
Of that corona which was death to him:
Good Friday happened in a thousand places
Where Jesus held the helpless, died with them
That they might share his Easter in their need,
Now they are risen with him, risen indeed.
136 responses to “‘Easter 2020’: A New Poem”
Many ask what will change in our world as a result of this epidemic. You see that the risen Christ now walks abroad and serves our broken, needy world. May we follow in his steps and walk with him, bringing his love to heal and bless.
Dear Malcolm,, Thank you so much for this Easter 2020 poem – you have put your finger on it – or maybe your tongue, but best, your heart.
The Rev’d Amanda Goulding BTh (Hons), Assistant Priest, St Bartholomew & St Lawrence with St Swithun, Winchester.
Chair – Space in the City – www,spaceinthecity.org.uk
Long Valley, Deane Down Drove, Littleton, Winchester. SO22 6PP. Tel: 01962 884585
Great poem, Malcolm.
If anything, at least this strange time has brought home to everyone how much we need the physical presence of others, and the beauty of nature; and how much the practice of our religions is about physical embodiment and community.
I love the idea of Christ out there with the nurses among the sick. Exactly right. Reminds me of St Theresa’s poem “Christ’s hands” and also a poem in a Unitarian poetry anthology, “My Disabled God”, which has a similar theme.
Thanks Yvonne, I was despairing whether I could write at all in this crisis and this poem came and gripped me at the end of Good friday and I finished writing it yesterday
Yes I know what you mean, my writing has been paralyzed like that for a while (with the occasional exception).
Did you see the silent churches poem by Gilo? I think you’d like it.
Thank you for your wonderful, moving, thought provoking and eloquent poems which have been such a great gift to us this Easter. We have wept and rejoiced with you!
Love this. Risen Indeed!!🙌
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This is an excellent twin to your original Easter poem. The crisis has revealed cracks in our usually solid looking world. Your new poem brings in light through the cracks.
What consolation – uttering what we now tentatively know in a new way. Christ with the dying, holding them and speaking softly to them because their loved ones cannot be there; he is indeed the loved one we share, and when our moment of death comes, he will be there.
Thanks yes that is indeed the heart of what I am saying
I’m a nurse….this was so powerful to me. Thank you.
Thanks Nancy – as a nurse you are one of the very people it was written for – thank you so much for your work
Yes! He Is Living every where and giving all of us the exact Life we are willing to live by!
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Reblogged this on Myriad Shades of Gray.
If there is any message Christians can carry from Good Friday and Easter to a world darkened by a pandemic, it’s that meaningless suffering is the goal of the devil, and bringing meaning out of suffering is the saving work of God.
This is remarkable! So happy to be introduced to you last summer in Cambridge. What a gift! Happy Easter to you and yours. SDG
Thank you for this beautiful application of Jesus hands & works in words. I’m moved and can see Jesus at work even more clearly today through others ‘ordinary’ hands 🙏➕
Thanks that’s just what I hoped the poem would do
Thank you for this perfect reminder of who Christ is and how He and His church are serving and should serve the world in this pandemic. Challenging and comforting words as we grieve the absence of corporate worship and fellowship.
I hope this reaches you! I just wanted to thank you so much for the inspiration you have been all this strange Holy Week and Easter. Your sonnets, old and new, have just hit the spot right and been very uplifting, along with your comments accompanying them. This one for Easter 2020 has had me weeping. You are able to express the profound and make it so relevant. Truly Jesus is working harder than ever this Lent and Easter, right in our midst.
With warm good wishes,
Sally from Oxford (St Maryâs Iffley)
Heartfelt thanks to you, sir!
Heartfilling praise to our common Savior!
Reblogged this on Pastor Michael Moore's Blog and commented:
Beautifully said, Malcolm!
Simply beautiful, Malcolm!
I see what you did there!
He is risen indeed. And out in the world. Knocking on doors, greeting His own with Easter Peace.
Thank you malcolm for a beautiful New poem. I absolutely love it. Jo
Thank you. Your poem was sent me by my sister.
It says what many struggle to put into words.
The question so many ask ‘Where is God in this? Right there in each one with Covid 19 and in those who care for them.
Thanks yes that’s just where he is
This is just wonderful, thank you so much.
May I join others who have commented here, to say a huge thank you to you Malcolm for all that you’ve shared with us this Lent and particularly Holy Week? Like you, I have been distressed at the circumstances in which we clergy find ourselves, but your words and seeing you have been such a comfort and help to me, and brought me through. I do hope that you continue – if it’s not too much of an ask – to invite us into your study for chats and sharing. Thank you, and bless you.
Thanks yes I hope to continue the study series beyond lockdown if I am spared M
Malcolm in the last few weeks and months, every post, video, and poem you share has made me think of Esther 4:14.
“For such a time as this” …you are bringing hope, comfort, the presence of God, in your gentle, godly, good-natured unassuming way. To so many of us.
“I bless the interweaving of our ways.”
With deep respect
Thanks for that encouragement
Beautiful! Thank you for putting into words what many of us are feeling but unable to articulate.
Thank, thank you Malcolm, and we thank God for the incredible gift he has given you. To don His apron with a nurse………..what a wonderful, uplifting thought. Sue Evans
What a beautiful poem Malcolm.. I love the image you created of Jesus lost in our locked Churches… no need for that!! He knows where he’s needed most…
Your poem for today goes straight to the heart of now. Thank you. I have shared it, of course. Happy Easter, Malcolm.
So profound so moving, it captures the reality of Christ among us so vivdl5
Wow. My favourite of your poems. Took my breath away. Thankyou
Really moving poem have really got the feeling of this very strange but somehow familiar Easter
Thank you! Easter 2020 is rich indeed with offerings like yours and musical classics, too. Praise to God!
Thank you for this new Easter poem. As my father lays in ICU struggling with this awful virus we, my mother, brother, sister and I so long to be with him and hold his hand. We trust that Jesus is near him though, holding his hand like we want to do. Thankful for our great Hope and for the One who conquered death. Hallelujah – Janey Smith Austin, TX
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Oh Janey I’m sorry to hear this and pray for your father and the whole heart of this poem is to say that even when we can’t be close to our loved ones Jesus is there, as the psalmist says of him ‘thou art with me thy rod and staff comfort me
Reblogged this on Musings and commented:
On this most unusual of Easters, in the midst of COVID-19, I read this newly written poem by Malcolm Guite.
Jesus is wherever someone whispers his name. You have written or been helped by Spirit to write a meaningful poem about this sad and strange Easter Day.
If ever we needed evidence that God is among us, we see it now. An uncountable rollcall of Humanity who show the very essence of the Christian Spirit which we had thought was lost. Thankyou for a simple but elegeic poem which portrays just that.
Thank you so much for your beautiful, powerful words. We read your Holy Saturday / Everything Is Still poem at our Holy Saturday service and this one today at our Easter service at St. Alban’s Anglican Church in Ottawa, Canada. People were very much moved by both.
Thanks that’s good to know
I’ve just bought your Sounding the Seasons: 70 Sonnets for the Christian Year. I really appreciate how you make your poems free for use by churches.
Thanks for buying the book!
Just newly discovered your poems – and they have been a blessing. Thank you.
Thank you for such insightful brilliant poetry I hope that it will help my friends and family as much as it did me to understand Jesus’ workings in our world
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Thank you for this beautiful and thought-provoking poem, which speaks so directly and insightfully into the strange Easter we’ve all been experiencing. I was guided to it by a parishioner. I would very much like to re-produce it in a weekly publication I send around to other parishioners (in the parish of St Faith, Havant, UK) – a sort of ‘extended Pew Sheet’ to keep folks in touch and praying during these locked-down days. May I have your permission to do so? Canon Tom Kennar, Rector of St Faith’s, Havant.
Dear canon Tom yes of course please feel free to do that
Many thanks indeed, Malcolm,
So powerful and relevant! Thank you for this Easter 2020 gift!
I am new to WordPress and Mr. Malcolm Guite. I was led to this sight because I needed to hear from other Believers. I agree with the poem; I see Jesus set free to touch more lives and bring the reality of His existence to those who thought Him far removed from themselves. Thank you, Mr. Guite; He has truly risen indeed.
It seems to be a theme at the moment that God is breaking out of our trammeled expectations of Him, breaking the church out of its expectations of itself, and breaking the world out of its expectations of what constitutes ‘normal’.
And whenever God breaks something – His body, tomb seals, hearts, chains – He does so to bring new life.
Thanks yes I agree
So inspirational thank you My lovely husband Ray died Easter morning so very relevant Bless you Ann Heslop
Oh Ann I’m so sorry to hear your news but if my poem has helped you in any way then it was well worth the writing M
Many thanks for resending this sonnet: I thought I wold send you my daughter Annie’s response.
Many thanks and Happy Eastertime (self-isolating like me?)
Love to you and Maggie,
This is beautiful. Both the dedication and the poem itself got me a bit choked up.
Love you LOADS
Thanks Mary. I was so pleased to see you at the reading in Trinity and sorry we didn’t get a chance to talk afterwards M
Ange Sampson….just wow 💖
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This is a beautiful expression. I’m so glad for it’s truth!
wow…a visual picture of our front line with our LORD JESUS working in the midst of the chaos.thankyou malcolm
Wow that is so beautiful especially in light of current times. Thanks for that
Malcolm, can I ask a favour? If you ha e time, could you tap on my avatar and have a look at a couple I wrote. I would welcome your comments. Only if you have time. Thanks anyway
Thank you so much for this. Risen indeed.
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beautiful portrayal of the risen Jesus’ present ministry
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Thanks a million! Nowadays and generally this is also my idea and perception of the real faith and now this is my Jesus Christ!
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Impressive! Really reaches deep!
Our minister read this out this morning during our online service. What a beautiful and uplifting poem. People should read this and reflect upon it.
Hi Malcolm, I was wondering if you would be interested in reading the new blog I just developed. Your poem got me thinking as my first major blog post was about the secular and religious histories of Easter. Let me know and I will leave the link here. Many thanks!
Here is the link to my blog: https://wordpress.com/view/claireshistorytrunkhappyplace.wordpress.com
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Love, love this
So very beautifully written.
You lift us through the dark place. Thank you
This is great!
well thought of and well written. thanks
# thenignews.com> as Easter bell rang ; agony of the season, life exiting d earth, church empty; doctors and nurses like armies run back to save life ,
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Touched me deeply. Thank you!
I am still in the heart of Easter, even more so than in the grip of COVID-19. This poem so helps me to be in both for this time, for this most Easter of Easters. I am in a small house of prayer in Canada (Saskatchewan); we have a modest Blog – https://qhpconnection.blogspot.com/. Would so much like to reprint your poem, with link to your website, with your permission.
Thanks yes that’s fine
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loved the way you expressed and each and every word came to its place… indeed the Good Friday was celebrated on many places.
Exquisitely wrought and written
you got a few new admirers with that one Malcolm. My prayer is that more of your supporters and followers will experience the true power of the Name and the Resurrection Power of Jesus
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