Rise again, yes, you will rise again,
My dust, after brief rest!
Immortal life! Immortal life
Will He, who called you, grant you.
To bloom again, you were sown!
The Lord of the Harvest goes
And gathers like sheaves,
Us, who died.
O believe, my heart, believe:
Nothing will be lost to you!
Yours, yes, yours is what you longed for,
Yours what you loved,
What you fought for!
Gustav Mahler (Symphony 2 – Resurrection)
I ran across a blog post by someone I’d never met, nor had I read his work. The link came to me via a friend and, after reading what John Pletcher wrote in reaction to seeing “Beauty and the Beast” I was prompted to write about our Great Hope. Given we are past the mid-point in Lent, I thought it was appropriate. I won’t be able to link this out on my own social networks until after Easter, but I wanted to write while the thoughts were still fresh in my mind. Thank you, John, for the e-mail exchange and encouragement.
The poem above represents the sum total of choral lyrics for Mahler’s 2nd Symphony. I had the privilege of participating once and the memory has stuck with me. I won’t comment or cast any suspicions on Mahler’s intent, but I will say his words and the timing during the symphony provide a truly dynamic experience. You see, the choir sits silent on stage for about the first 100 minutes (no intermission for the piece). Then, in very low tones, and usually in German, the lyrics resonate the with the sheer anticipation of a resurrection. As I read John Pletcher’s piece, recalled the Mahler and reflected on the book I’m teaching from (Keller’s “Encounters with Jesus”), the hope of resurrection swelled within me.
It truly is a “tale as old as time” … in fact, The Story pre-dates time. It’s an eternal theme that culminates in resurrection and a complete restoration (at least, that’s how I read the end of Revelation). We are invited to be swept up in the words of the Rabbi who tells Martha and Mary, “I AM the Resurrection”. This is what he demonstrates to Mary Magdalene when he gently speaks her name, inviting her to believe that he has indeed resurrected. And it’s all juxtaposed against the crucial angst he felt as he, quite literally, begged the Father to find another way.
Yet, and if the Lenten season reminds us of nothing else it should remind us of this, he completed what we could not do for ourselves. He resurrected so that we can have a part in the resurrection ourselves. We can’t earn it or finagle it in any way. We bring zero – we’re completely dead. He breathes Life into us so we can sing, as we travel the Crooked Path, “Rise again, yes, rise again!” That’s where the path is leading for all those who will but travel it willingly.