When she knew she was dying, my grandmother took me to see the cornerstone of a small brick church in my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. I didn’t recognize the sign outside. It was a Baptist church, I think. It was pretty rundown, but still in better shape than the neighborhood. Overgrown vacant lots were everywhere; it was like visiting an abandoned church in the jungle.
My father died about three years ago. As May comes around, the azaleas spring to life, and I remember my father's passing. Just as sure as the tulips and dogwood blossom, my mind wanders back to my dad. Even when I begin to open up to these strange and wonderful stories of Easter, struggling with the notions of recognition and revelation, I think about the last few months of my father's life.
In my experience, Easter Sunday is a fairly scripted event. For weeks, the choir has been practicing special music, perhaps a cantata. Extra bulletins have been printed since there may be visitors to the church, those Christmas-and-Easter Christians we are always talking about. Additional worshipers means that preparing and serving communion will take longer. There may be a bit of exhaustion—Holy Week services have drawn us into the agonies of Jesus’ last days. Pastors may have bags packed, ready to head out for a few days after all the extra work.
Easter has been coming, and we’ve made sure to be ready.
As Easter approaches, raising the dead is at the forefront of my mind. But I think of a different vision of resurrected dead, zombies. The popular monsters reanimate as gruesome bodies; their essential natures, spirits, or souls are absent. Zombies are a reckoning of the horror of the dead coming back to life.