Poem For The Sunday Lectionary (Easter 2)

(John 20: 19-31)

John 11:16 – Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

But you fled, as the others did, when he was arrested.
From a distance you watched him suffer, die on the cross.
That night you lay down on a bed of hot coals,
and the fire of your words burned your eyes.

All day the memories came like old boats beached in darkness.
You couldn’t seem to recall the shapes of simple flowers
yet could not forget the faces turned toward
him on the Galilean hills.
The wet clouds in your eyes hid the sun.

You were not with the others when the women told their news.
You found it hard to breathe behind the shut doors of the house;
your legs needed movement, your eyes wanted sky, as if trying
to prove your soul was not entombed.

Grief circled you like a city, you circled in your despair,
you circled back to the house, a moth in shadow, seeking light.

Faces smiled, filling your eyes like bright candles,
holding out to you astonishing news, a hot flame.

You wondered: is this what the moth sees
before it dies?

How you longed for the news to be true,
longed as the stilled ship longs for new wind in its sails,
as eyes in a deep cave long for light.
Longed to be able to touch him again.
For him to be able to touch you.

Now he is here, and let your heart lift from hurting.
Now he is here, let your lungs fill with breath.
Now he is here: your mind kneels in wonder.

Touch him in the midst of your fellow disciples,
see him, your crucified and living Lord,
listen as he speaks to you the blessing of peace.

Let your eyes be filled, Thomas, with horizons of light.

You died with him.

Now rise with him too.

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