Continuing our recent flurry of (irresistible) Francis Spufford posts, his writing on Jesus in Unapologetic [spoiler alert!] is some of the most fresh I’ve ever read. Thornton Wilder called for “new persuasive words“, and Spufford’s imaginative, playful (non-)apology for Christianity gives the kind of new angle on old news that any writer or theologian could envy. Here we turn to Christ’s death and resurrection, and Spufford’s attempt to circumvent loaded, often-difficult intellectual language to address the emotions:

ltocHe cannot do anything deliberate now. The strain of his whole weight on his outstretched arms hurts too much…And yet he goes on taking in. It is not what he does, it is who he is. He is all open door: to sorrow, suffering, guilt, despair, horror, everything that cannot be escaped, and he does not even try to escape it, he turns to meet it, and claims it all as his own. This is mine now, he is saying; and he embraces it with all that is left in him, each dark act, each dripping memory, as if it were something precious, as if it were itself the loved child tottering homeward on the road.

And we continue with Mary Magdalene’s discovery of the empty body at the tomb:

…she finds the linen’s been thrown in the corner and the body is gone. Evidently anonymous burial isn’t quite anonymous enough, after all. She sits outside in the sun. The insects have woken up, here at the edge of the desert, and a bee is nosing about in a lily like silk thinly tucked over itself, but much more perishable. It won’t last long. She takes no notice of the feet that appear at the edge of her vision. That’s enough now, she thinks. That’s more than enough. Don’t be afraid, says Yeshua. Far more can be mended than you know.

She is weeping. The executee helps her to stand up.