During the period of 1954 – 1996, violence and war brought death to nearly $200,000 Guatemalans in Central America. In response to accumulating forces of genocide, the Guatemalan Poet, Julia Esquivel wrote a poem entitled, “They Have Threatened us with Resurrection.”

There is something here with in us
Which doesn’t let us sleep, which doesn’t let us rest,
Which doesn’t stop pounding deep inside,
It is the silent, warm weeping of women without their husbands,
It is the sad gaze of children
Fixed there beyond memory,
In the very pupil of our eyes
Which during sleep, though closed, keep watch
With each contraction of the heart
In every wakening…

What keeps us from sleeping
Is that they have threatened us with resurrection!
Because at each nightfall,
Though exhausted from the endless inventory of [death] …
Yet we continue to love life,
And do not accept their death…

Today although we are experiencing a context different than the conditions which inspired this poem, it speaks profoundly to the way many Americans are perhaps feeling about Easter this year. Physically sheltering in homes for fear catching or spreading the COVID-19 virus, its death-dealing reality threatens us corporately, personally, publicly, and globally at the same time. Appearing frequently on media posts and prominent television spots is the statement “We are in this together” or “Together we can get through this.” Investing in this civic hope is important warranting at all levels our collective effort. Yet in an ominous way, COVID-19 reveals truth beyond recovery back to the normal way of living or governing life as business as unusual. COVID-19 is unmasking other pandemics spreading deadly viruses– moral deficit to apply truth that honors the best possibilities for all people, the growing poverty and wealth gap, predatory capitalism, and pharmaceutical profit-making over the needs of people. These pandemics among others threaten us to rise to new life.

The disciples who followed Jesus offer us the gift of their fears and vulnerability when they allow us to read in the gospel narratives centuries later that when Jesus was arrested and crucified for alleged crimes against the Roman empire, they all forsook him and fled from the future God intends for the world. The ominous reality of coronavirus shoots holes in untested belief-systems and religious generalities about the future God not only intends for us and but its real possibility in the world. In the chambers of our own hearts, what secretly threatens us is facing the psychological tremor and existential insecurities that necessitate we turn to new transformations in the way we live. This is becoming evident as the silent attack of the virus carries us deeper into the valley of death and fear. This threat “pounding deep inside of us” challenges our faith to rise again to trusting the divine measures of life. No doubt this makes Easter the crown jewel of Christian faith. It is “the pounding inside the heart” to have resurrection faith when there seems to be more military hardware for organization of death and less spiritual commitment and medical supplies for organization and healing of life. I join many of you in this Easter moment to embrace the larger divine purpose for the world over all that seeks to destroy and defeat the goodness of life.