Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

In the diptych, I see two Messiahs:
one just prior to his closing breath
and another exactly one moment after.
I do not see the breath itself (it being breath).
Nevertheless, as my eyes stray from one
to the other then back to the first, the result
is that of a comical videotape of gridiron miscues,
where they forward-reverse-forward-reverse
the tumbling receiver for hilarious effect.
My mood, however, is less jolly as my eyes
reload-unload-reload-unload life into Christ.
Then suddenly all dyings and undyings assume
an editing room incredulity: Jairus’ daughter
pops-up-slumps-down-pops-up-slumps-down
on her bed and Lazarus keeps kicking through
and disappearing behind his cave door
like some cop on a Stephen J. Cannell crime
drama in worldwide syndication.

Neither, Grandpa, at your wake in Wheaton
nor during your lonely flight as baggage to Boston
did you ever display such cinematic hilarity.
There is, however, still time.

Image adapted from James Emery under the Creative Commons License.

Dear Reader,

Your charitable support for First Things is urgently needed before July 1.

First Things is a proudly reader-supported enterprise. The gifts of readers like you— often of $50, $100, or $250—make articles like the one you just read possible.

This Spring Campaign—one of our two annual reader giving drives—comes at a pivotal season for America and the church. With your support, many more people will turn to First Things for thoughtful religious perspectives on pressing issues of politics, culture, and public life.

All thanks to you. Will you answer the call?

Make My Gift