Today we feel the wind beneath our wings Today the hidden fountain flows and plays Today the church draws breath at last and sings As every flame becomes a Tongue of praise. This is the feast of fire,air, and water Poured out and breathed and kindled into earth. The earth herself awakens to her maker And is translated out of death to birth. The right words come today in their right order And every word spells freedom and release Today the gospel crosses every border All tongues are loosened by the Prince of Peace Today the lost are found in His translation. Whose mother-tongue is Love, in every nation.
You can hear a recording of Malcolm Guite reading this poem here.
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)
Your presence breaks over the hills like a rising sun. Zechariah’s words echo through the atmosphere, mingled with the rustle of feet and whisper of palm branches laid down before You. Then the first voice rings out, “Hosanna!”, and then another replies, “Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord!” Then more voices resound, “Hosanna!” The journey from the Mount of Olives to the gates of Jerusalem assumes the momentum of an avalanche as the crowd grows to a commotion of great celebration. “He is here,” they seem to say. “The One who we have waited for all our lives.”
“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.” Now I have told you.’ So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. ‘Greetings,’ he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.'”
Shadows stretched long and deep from the sunrise on that day, tracing the rough-hewn stone edge of the tomb. On that day, Mary’s somber footsteps shivered with surprise in the way the Savior’s silent tomb became a womb, in the way the angel’s earthquake language shook her life on that day. The death grip rescinded, new life subsumed on that day grief and joy, loss and gain. All revivified in the way Jesus struck death down in dying at noon; in the way divine power enfleshed, emerges alive on that day. No words from Mary’s lips, her vision trued in the way the beginning and the end were circumscribed on that day in flesh and bone through heaven’s glorious wound.
Thou Eternal God, out of whose absolute power and infinite intelligence the whole universe has come into being, we humbly confess that we have not loved thee with our hearts, souls and minds, and we have not loved our neighbors as Christ loved us. We have all too often lived by our own selfish impulses rather than by the life of sacrificial love as revealed by Christ. We often give in order to receive. We love our friends and hate our enemies. We go the first mile but dare not travel the second. We forgive but dare not forget. And so as we look within ourselves, we are confronted with the appalling fact that the history of our lives is the history of an eternal revolt against you. But thou, O God, have mercy upon us. Forgive us for what we could have been but failed to be. Give us the intelligence to know your will. Give us the courage to do your will. Give us the devotion to love your will. In the name and spirit of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
I dream a world where man No other man will scorn, Where love will bless the earth And peace its paths adorn I dream a world where all Will know sweet freedom’s way, Where greed no longer saps the soul Nor avarice blights our day. A world I dream where black or white, Whatever race you be, Will share the bounties of the earth And every man is free, Where wretchedness will hang its head And joy, like a pearl, Attends the needs of all mankind- Of such I dream, my world!