On this third Monday of Easter, our guide for the third chapter of The Challenge of Easter is John Blase.
Let’s go—much as that dog goes,
edgeways, there’s nothing
the dog disdains on his way,
keeps moving, changing
pace and approach but
not direction—‘every step an arrival’.
~Denise Levertov – Overland to the Islands
Intently haphazard – Levertov’s phrase beautifully describes the dog out on a walk. I believe it also gives us a winsome way to view those other hounds, those Gospel witnesses of the resurrection. Wright says “As I read the Gospel accounts, I have a sense that they are saying, in effect, ‘I know this is extraordinary, but this is just how it was.’” There is no intentional effort by the Gospel writers to turn evidence that demands some verdict; they proclaim “He’s alive!” and that was that. And, the way I see it, they and the early church go from there intently haphazard… changing pace and approach but not direction… and so may we.
Wright encourages us to grasp the full significance of the bodily resurrection, that its not just life after death or Jesus is alive today, but that “Easter day was the birthday of God’s new world.” I do not disagree, not one bit; however I just don’t know how to do that, grasp the full significance of something. I seem leashed to a more day-by-day, scent-by-scent, sniffing out of what Easter fully means. Does that hint at some doubt? Possibly, but not necessarily. It may hint at being overwhelmed by life’s redolence, not wanting to miss jot nor tittle. My gut tells me Wright would allow room for such, but only as long as after a little while, I keep moving.
The chapter closes by highlighting Jesus’ word to those first witnesses – “peace be with you.” I will not speak for you, but as for me and my thoughts, I routinely place “peace” in a somewhat military frame, bordered by cease-fires or swords into ploughshares or a chartreuse VW van from the 60s. But with Wright’s reminder and Levertov’s imagery, I’d like to propose “peace”, at least the kind Jesus breathes on all of us shaggy disciples, as more of an invitation to a tail-wagging edgeways dance into the new creation, God’s new order, never disdaining anything along the way for each new walk is scented with possibility, but always moving, ever hope-filled, every step an arrival…intently haphazard.
Ready? Let’s go.
John Blase lives with his wife and three kids in Colorado…there’s a Beagle too. He edits the books of others by day and writes his own by night, sorta like Batman. John blogs regularly at the dirty shame