“If Jesus is alive”

If Jesus is alive who once was dead,
How can my heart be sorrowful and sad?
For though the mortal courts and rulers spoke
And carried out their sentence on his life,
Then God, the Judge before whom all must stand
And from whose judgments there is no appeal,
Reversed and overturned their rash decree
And raised the Christ in glory from the grave—
And not to merely mortal life again,
As he gave Jairus’ child and Lazarus,
But Jesus rose in triumph and in might,
His body more alive than it had been.

And what is more (too marvelous to tell!),
That power (the same!) is now at work in us,
All who believe in truth, whom God has called,
So though we die, we too shall rise like him,
And even now, before death has its way,
That power shapes us to be more like him.
All reasons to rejoice! But best of all
Is that Good News that we still celebrate:
That Jesus, who was dead, is now alive!

The beginning of this poem came to me (in a realization that the words of that idea could be rearranged to fit an iambic meter with no further adjustments) on Easter Sunday, and the rest followed fairly quickly in the next day or so. Back in February I had noted down a few lines to use in a Resurrection-celebratory poem, but then didn’t use them in this one, so they’ll wait until next year, or even later, if I use them at all.

As always, I earnestly welcome your comments, questions, suggestions (perhaps of a real title for this poem?), or other feedback about this or any other part of my work. If you’d like to read more of my poetry, you can read my archive (also organized in more manageable installments); get my book, which contains over sixty of my best poems, each paired with a public-domain illustration or drawing; or follow this blog for (now only occasional) new poetry (among other things). You may also share this poem with others, subject to my sharing policy.


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