Seeing the resurrection as unfinished business
Christ's resurrection is one of the most popular subjects in the history of art. After all the centuries, though, it's a challenge to find ever new ways of representing an event at which there were no witnesses. This Easter, we have a radically original depiction on page one, a stylized drawing by NCR proofreader Pierre Jorgensen. Asked for an explanation, he said:
Of course it didn't happen exactly like that -- whatever happened is wrapped in mystery. But there is here a leap of imagination to grasp some spiritual reality. It catches the continuity between crucifixion and resurrection. It hints not so much at the more commonly confident Christ with a flag in his hand that echoes a triumphalist church; it reflects rather the unfinished business of ongoing Easter.
Pam Schaeffer's page one story offers another angle on Easter as a movable feast. The early Irish Christians carried on a hectic, centuries-long battle with Rome over the date of Easter. The resurrection has consistently been a sign of contradiction and bone of contention.
A poem by Elizabeth Cheney captures this unfinished business aspect. Finding Jesus on the cross, unable to get down, the poet -- who presumably speaks for us all -- volunteers to take the nails out:
But he said: "Let them be,
What can I do in the meantime, the poet wants to know. The answer is obvious:
Go about the world --
And he is in the throes of rising from the dead.
-- Michael Farrell
National Catholic Reporter, March 28, 1997