Come and taste

(Artwork by Sr. Mary Stephen)

“So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” (Mark 16:8)

by Kate Layzer

“Come and taste of resurrection,”
speaks the voice so sweet and clear;
“Rise and take a new direction;
if you trust me, have no fear.”

Who am I that you should love me?
Just a creature made of earth.
Every mortal fragment of me
shrinks away from such rebirth.

Yet you stand here watching, waiting,
holding out your arms to me;
silent answer emanating:
“Love lasts an eternity.

“Put away, then, all your grieving;
free your heart from pointless strife.
Be not fearful but believing:
Now begins eternal life.”

Christ, your name is glory, glory,
hope of everlasting grace!
Deep in this unfolding story
we have glimpsed love face to face.

I wrote this hymn text sometime in the mid-1990s, I can’t exactly remember what year. It was one of those rare texts that came to me quickly, with very little “strife.” I probably wrote it in one or two sittings. A member of the congregation had asked me for a hymn on the theme of resurrection, and this was what came out. As you might guess, I was at a very difficult time in my life. Not only were my circumstances difficult, I was difficult: young, raw, tactless, graceless. I was deeply in need of healing, and had no idea where to look for it.

The interesting thing is that by trying to write honestly about a personal, internal dialogue, I ended up expressing something seemingly universal. I say this because my church has sung this hymn two or three times a year for the past 25 years, and each time we do, people seek me out later to tell me how powerfully the text affected them.

What I want to say on this Easter day in 2022 is that I’m in a very different place now. It has taken time, and brought me to places I could never have anticipated. If you had told me ahead of time where I was headed, I would have been as terrified and amazed as the women at the Easter tomb. Joy has come on paths I would never have consciously chosen. But it has been real joy. So often in my life what I’ve gone looking for most desperately, what I thought I wanted most in the world, has turned out all wrong. “Things are sweeter when they’re lost,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald in one of his bitterer moments.

“I know — because once I wanted something and got it. It was the only thing I ever wanted badly… And when I got it it turned to dust in my hands.”

The Beautiful and the Damned

And yet today I know that joy is real, and absolutely, positively worth hanging on for. You have to let it come to you, though. You have to go out there and live your life, and let it come to you freely, as a gift and a surprise. At least, that’s what it’s been like for me. Maybe your path looks different.

Angie Renfrew

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
O water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here in my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night, as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night, as I slept,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.

		—Antonio Machado, translated by Robert Bly

If you would like a pdf of the complete hymn “Come and Taste of Resurrection,” beautifully set by composer/musician Peter Sykes, feel free to message me. Happy Easter.

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