Moonbeams met early dawn’s light and bounced off the river as I passed over. The water flowed quietly, the bridge was empty, the morning still. I wondered if this ancient moon paved a path for the women laden with spices and grief so long ago. I hoped so.

We gathered on the front lawn for the sunrise service, just a couple of dozen hardy folk, most with crowns of gray and stiff limbs. Sprinkled in were a youth or two and a few middle-aged, like me. Our metal folding chairs transferred the frigid air into bone-deep shivers. But we were there to celebrate, to make note of a morning unlike any other, and neither an early hour nor the chill could steal our joy. With worship-warmed hearts our voices swirled forth in a frosty Hallelujah! chorus.

I thought about that first resurrection Sunday, when fear and confusion gave way to dare-we-hope? … and exulted when hope reappeared. Within hours, disciples in hiding became apostles empowered to share the Good News. They could not help but tell of their joy!

Two thousand years later, Easter Sunday proclaims victory over the dark angel of death. And because Someone made a way through and we are only passing through, we can have hope. Even, no especially, in the face of otherwise unbearable sorrow, sadness, and loss, we can have hope. Though my heart grieves with those who’ve lost a newborn, for those losing a parent — some slowly, some suddenly — for others battling to reclaim life, for tragic abuses and senseless deaths proliferating the daily news… yet, there is hope!

“Some say it’s cruel for God to make a life and take it / And I suppose that would be true / If this were the world that we were made for / If we weren’t only passing through …” (Carolyn Arends)

I saw this hope in my dad’s eyes, just before he passed over. I didn’t expect to see it there — in an otherwise hopeless hospital room, support systems disconnected and silent. But this was not hope in hope. This was hope in One much greater and proven worthy. There was peace beyond understanding in that sacred space; midst the sorrow there was joy. We could not help but sing! And I knew that my father, the teacher, was imparting his finest lesson: be not afraid.

Christ the Lord has risen! He is risen indeed.

~René Morley

*Read accounts of the resurrection in Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20



Easter weekend, 2012.

A robin perches high in the maple, her red breast exposed by spindly spring branches. She trills hopefully for awhile, then swoops off for better prospects. A lone Canadian goose honks loudly in landing midst the flock spread wide on the pasture. Other whistles and tweets and calls join into the song of praise as the sun sinks slowly, the treetops backlit as lace on a lamp. The mourning dove sings the final refrain, her gracious coos sailing from the silo, through the hedgerow, across the hayfield.

The wind has died down; the fire blazes a steady comfort. The stones of the firepit warm through the soles of my shoes to cozy my bare toes. My face tingles and flushes but I only lean in closer, absorbing more from the embers. I am alone with my thoughts but I am not lonely. I am thankful for the quiet.

This is that precious space and peaceful place, awake to dream. The horizon is wide and I am hopeful.

Anything seems possible.

~René Morley


We ask that life be kind
And watch us from above
We hope each soul will find
Another soul to love

Let this be our prayer
Just like every child …

Need to find a place
Guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe.*

Did you catch Charlotte and Jonathan’s performance on Britain’s Got Talent? If you haven’t watched yet, you must.These are seven minutes you won’t regret.

Neither the audience nor the judges were expecting much from this duo, especially from Jonathan. The large young man stepped on stage in a faded Hendrix t-shirt, baggy jeans, and long, curly hair that nearly shouted nerd. Nobody. As the camera panned the audience, there was no mistaking where disdain was high and expectations low. One judge challenged them immediately, demanding. “Who’s idea was this?” Clearly, they were about to waste his valuable time. His hollow good luck wishes and sarcasm cast a shadow on the audience like a dark cloud passing.

And then Jonathan opened his mouth and began to sing “The Prayer” in tremendous operatic fashion. Charlotte’s clear accompaniment created a strong and sweet meld. And a few moments later, the audience leapt to their feet in spontaneous ovation as that same judge gathered his flapping jaw off the floor. Many, like me, were wiping tears from their eyes at the immense beauty and sheer poetic justice of it all. It was powerful.

But even more than their talent, I was impressed by their friendship. Charlotte gave to Jonathan the courage and self-confidence to get up on stage. He knew that he would face hecklers but he wouldn’t have to face them alone. Jonathan gave to Charlotte an opportunity to enter the big leagues. She can clearly go farther with him than on her own. And Jonathan didn’t hesitate for an instant when encouraged to dump Charlotte and go solo for the gold. “We’ve come on here as a duo and we’re gonna’ stay as a duo.” To this, the audience erupted again in extraordinary affirmation. These are young people of admirable character.

His response immediately called to mind another Jonathan. I Samuel 19-20 tells the story. King Saul sought to kill David. His own son and heir, Jonathan, was determined to save his friend’s life. Jonathan made a vow to David and kept his promise at great personal risk. Scripture reveals that Jonathan loved David as much as he loved himself. This is a powerful claim few can make in good faith.

May we each be such a friend, may we each have such a friend, even once.

~René Morley

*Lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager and David Foster