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After Death

By Anne Angel

Dedicated to the friends who are not afraid to look at the ugly and not content to let it stay that way.


“I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”

I think Jesus must be talking about a different “they,”
For I am not living “fully alive.”
“Mostly dead” seems more accurate
To the facts
Of my life.

I don’t think “healing” is a strong enough word
To capture what I need.

I need resurrection.

I look at the Jesus on the cross.


It is finished.

That’s what I feel now, here, in me.

Many times, I run away —   
like the disciples – from the agony
Hanging there

(Maybe if I don’t look at it, it won’t hurt.)

But then other times, like the Romans,
I leave the wounds exposed
To the elements
To the crowds
As a statement of violence

(Beware, the worst I can do.)

But those don’t lead to resurrection.

Even Jesus needed help to get
From there
To where he was ready
To defeat death

Some friends, seeing the judgments laid on him
Watching him bear the cross
In an act of courage
Of faith
Of love

To put their very hands on the battered corpse of their friend.

What if this is the key to finding the miracle I need? 

Maybe I can come to my crosses,
With courage to face the pain again
With faith that there’s an end I can’t see
With love for the parts that have died.

I go accompanied by the richest of Friends –
And one or two others perhaps –
To prepare my pain
For life.

I ask permission.
Lord, can I take this part down from where it died? …

Wash the body with water and spices.
Remove the rot and reveal the original wounds…

Wrap it in linen, bright and pure.
Provided for you at a high price …

Leave it in the tomb.
Let it go. Rest in peace…

And then, like the women who loved Him,

Mourning the loss with those you trust to mourn with you.

Ready to bring more spice to wash again if necessary.

Holding in tension the promises that seem to have been broken.

Until one day
At the kairos time
You will return to the place of death
And, surprised, find
In the garden

An empty tomb.


“I am the resurrection and the life; He who believes in me
Though he die …Yet shall he live.”

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