March 21, 2018

The EASTER STING ... by Jocelyn Faire

My church background did not focus on the Lent season ... other than the Holy Week. Each year I ponder anew the central meaning of the resurrection and what does that mean for me, for my daughter who works as a missionary in a hostile environment, for people bereaved, for the big picture of humanity. Is it possible to harness that resurrection power and how does that translate into reality in our wanderings of faith?
This year on a fast paced walk with my sister-in-law, I told her I needed a poem for Easter ... I'd already purchased two new poetry books at the thrift store. A cup of coffee and further conversation at her house followed our walk. As the last drops were sipped, she said, here I think this is for you, and she handed me Malcolm Guite's book of Poetry and Lenten readings; a poem-a-day with explanations. Thank you Lord, for the way you move in your people. The daily poetry has brought a new freshness to the Lent season for me. Not only that, some poetic writing resulted ... The topic of reflections initiated ideas both of mirror images and of bending back what has been sent to the recipient. Many of my thoughts originated while walking along a river where thin sheets of ice break, rise up and for a brief moment the broken edges shine brilliantly as they turn over. I love the idea that a mirror image reflects what it is shown, while a prism bends the light.

Do I reflect back to you what you reflect to me?
And if not, why not?
Can the fractured glass hold back its prismatic beauty?
Catching the rainbows
as the Light shines upon it.
Waters dark and deep glisten in the rays
The echo returns not a new song, but a muted variation of what has been heard.
If the truth be that I only know what I've been shown,
would there be a point to the search,
or is the journey of the question,
the quest causes our hearts to burn within us?
John Donne said in his poem:
... and mysteries
Are like the sun, dazzling, yet plain to all eyes.

Open the eyes of my heart Lord.

Death and resurrection are powerful and painful thoughts focused on before Easter. This next poem recalls the Easter thirteen years ago, when that resurrection promise did little to alleviate the painful loss of two children. I have long given up the giving up for the lent season, I struggle with the inner heaviness. For bereaved people the Lent is too long. This is part of the reason I do not feel a need to become heavier in my Lenten contemplations, I long to experience the joy of Easter.

The Easter Sting
I recall that Easter years ago
When thoughts that the promise of resurrection 
would be the comfort, the
Power to overcome the weight of grief ...
     Vanity of vanities, All is vanity

Death, where is thy sting?
Where is thy sting?
     Who dares ask me that question?
That sting
Is in my heart
It relentlessly courses down my cheeks
It darkens a sunny day
It knots my stomach tight
It robs my sleep of dreams by day or night.
Powerfully absent that Victory o'er the grave,
The grave too fresh, too wrong, two young the body
My numbed heart shrouded in death's dark vale.
      Vanity of Vanities
      All was vanity

And so as time heals all wounds,
It also wounds all heals
As it wears down the sharp edge of the grave
It also mutes the vibrancy of the spring flowers

Victory, when will you come?
When will you thaw grieved hearts?
When will spring resurrect dreams of life?
     Is it all vanity? ...

(The silent church pause) 
The heavens remained quiet
Victory comes in battle, it skirmishes the mind
It cries out in the night, cries out to those seemingly silent heavens
It pleads the prayers of resurrection.
Greater things than these shall you also do ...
Overcoming sorrow by
Hope-filled prayers in the night,
by candles lit, by songs sung
by moments of awareness as our
H-hearts are
   O-open and the
      P-power of the risen Christ
         E-envelops our stricken souls

May it be as you have said ... (I believe) help me in my unbelief ...

Jocelyn is the author of Who is Talking Out of My Head? Grief as an out of Body Experience.
 During the month of March and April she is offering a free copy of her book to Inscribe writers. If interested please contact me at and I will mail you a copy. People that bought the book, have told me it has been a powerful help for understanding deep grief. If you know someone who has lost a child, it may be beneficial for them. 
Photography by Jocelyn


  1. Beautiful, beautiful, Jocelyn. I have not yet had to deal with grief over the loss of a loved one. You help me to understand it here. I found myself holding my breath in your last poem. It left me breathless.

  2. Beautifully honest. This helps me understand what people go through when they lose someone. Thank you for sharing, Jocelyn.

  3. Oh Jocelyn! this is so deep... so powerful... and yet also so overwhelmingly hopeful in that JESUS has overcome the grave and the sting of death once for all.


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