I wanted to write something for Easter, but it just wasn’t working. The well of words ran dry. And you know what? That’s okay. I don’t always have to say something great to commemorate a special time or interact with issues I care about or––well, basically, I don’t always have to say something, period. That’s something I’ve been learning recently. And I guess I did just say something by saying that. Oh well.
The point is: for this Easter, I’m showing up not as a creator but as a connoisseur. I selected some of my favorite songs and quotes for each day of the Holy Weekend. (Is that a thing? I know Holy Week is, but I’m not sure about the weekend. It should be anyhow.) Most of the songs and quotes relate directly to the events of each day, but some are a little more, idk, less obviously about Easter, especially for Saturday. But the cool thing about Easter story is how deeply it has permeated all of art, not just explicitly Easter stuff.
I hope these words can make Easter little more real and meaningful to you this year. ❤
i. friday | weep
For all the pain you suffered, my mama. For all the torment of your past and future years, my mama. For all the anguish this picture of pain will cause you. For the unspeakable mystery that brings good fathers and sons into the world and lets a mother watch them tear at each other’s throats. For the Master of the Universe, whose suffering world I do not comprehend. For dreams of horror, for nights of waiting, for memories of death, for the love I have for you, for all the things I remember, and for all the things I should remember but have forgotten, for all these I created this painting—an observant Jew working on a crucifixion because there was no aesthetic mold in his own religious tradition into which he could pour a painting of ultimate anguish and torment.
~ Chaim Potok, My Name Is Asher Lev
More I recall not, yet the vision spread
Into a world remote, an age to come
And still the illumined name of Jesus shed
A light, a clearness, through the enfolding gloom
And still I saw that sign, which now I see,
That cross on yonder brow of Calvary.
What is this Hebrew Christ ? To me unknown,
His lineage—doctrine—mission—yet how clear,
Is God-like goodness, in his actions shewn!
How straight and stainless is his life’s career!
The ray of Deity that rests on him,
In my eyes makes Olympian glory dim.
~ Charlotte Bronte, “Pilate’s Wife’s Dream”
He was pierced and scourged and mocked. He was cursed and raised up on a tree, but He was in that ancient pose of victory.
An old man on a hill, a blind man between two pillars, the God Man on a cross.
Glory is sacrifice, glory is exhaustion, glory is having nothing left to give.
It is death by living.
The earth shook. The roof came down. The world changed. The armies fled.
That Moses kept his hands up.
~ N. D. Wilson, Death By Living
Last Words (Tenebrae) | Andrew Peterson
Today you will be with me in Paradise
You will be with me today
How Love Wins | Steven Curtis Chapman
This is how love wins
Every single time
Climbing high upon a tree
Where someone else should die
Mercy’s War | Jon Foreman
Oh, the wonderful blood of Jesus
Maker is unmade
Love succums to hate
Life himself is slain
ii. saturday | wait
“Belief isn’t simply a thing for times and bright days, I think. What is belief—what is faith––if you don’t continue it after failure? … Anyone can believe in someone, or something, that always succeeds, Mistress. But failure…ah, now, that is hard enough to believe in, certainly and truly. Difficult enough to have value, I think.”
~ Brandon Sanderson, Mistborn: The Final Empire
“All that is made seems planless to the darkened mind, because there are more plans than it looked for.”
~ C. S. Lewis, Perelandra
You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth of falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you. It is easy to say you believe a rope to be strong and sound as long as you are merely using it to cord a box. But suppose you had to hang by that rope over a precipice. Wouldn’t you then first discover how much you really trusted it?
~ C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
God Rested | Andrew Peterson
So they took His body down
The man who said He was the resurrection and the life
Was lifeless on the ground
The sky was red as blood along the blade of night
Remember When It Rained | Josh Groban
Oh, remember when it rained.
Felt the ground and looked up high
And called your name.
Oh, remember when it rained.
In the darkness I remain.
There Is a Plan | Twila Paris
It was a very dark time
It was a very dark place
There was a visible force
And an invisible grace
iii. sunday | wonder
“Oh, you’re real, you’re real! Oh, Aslan!” cried Lucy, and both girls flung themselves upon him and covered him with kisses.
“But what does it all mean?” asked Susan when they were somewhat calmer.
“It means,” said Aslan, “that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backward.”
~ C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.
~ J. R. R. Tolkein, The Return of the King
What seemed to the disciples the final acme of disappointment and grief, the vanishing of his body itself, was in reality the first sign of the dawn of an illimitable joy. He was not there because he had risen.
~ George MacDonald, Miracles of Our Lord
Alive | Natalie Grant
Look what Mercy’s overcome
Death has lost and Love has won
Christ is Risen, He Is Risen Indeed | Keith and Kristyn Getty
For joy awakes as dawning light
When Christ’s disciples lift their eyes.
Alive He stands, their Friend and King;
Christ, Christ He is risen.
Hosanna | Andrew Peterson
You have crushed beneath your heel the vile serpent
You have carried to the grave the black stain
You have torn apart the temple’s holy curtain
You have beaten Death at Death’s own game
PSA: Andrew Peterson (who, you may have noticed, got a lot of showtime in this post) came out with a new album today, called Resurrection Letters, Vol. I. It’s all about the resurrection (no kidding) and I am insanely excited for it. He also released a five song prologue to it all about the crucifixion––I used two of those songs for Friday and Saturday here––and you can listen to them at this YouTube playlist.