That Time I Thought My Dad Wrote “Up From the Grave”

Up from the GraveMy Dad awakened us – especially on Easter morning  – with a clear tenor voice singing a song I thought he’d made up.  It was a melding of theological and familial lyrics.  A family favorite along with “Is Everybody Happy?” and “Doodle Bug, Doodle Bug Come Get Your Butter Bread.”

Imagine my shock to be sitting in the preacher’s chair on Easter morning 1984 to hear the choir of my first parish sing it as the opening anthem.  I was almost too stunned to lead worship.

It was one of many moments when I would realize that – in fact – my family and I were not the center of the universe.

  • Not everybody played Monopoly by the rules we played it.
  • Not everybody made lasagna the way Mom made it.
  • Not everybody got summer vacations at the beach.
  • Not everybody was Christian (or even believed in God) aka The-Great-Debate-Dad-had-on-a-Train-in-the-UK-with-a-Young- Atheist-in-the-Early-1980s.
  • Not everybody voted.
  • Not everybody went to college.
  • Not every successful person was American.  (Embarrassing but true: it was news to me when I realized that the Rolling Stones were from the UK.)
  • Not everybody went to the dentist.
  • Not everybody had air conditioning.
  • Not everybody had a passport.

And my Dad didn’t write “Up From the Grave He Arose.”  Major shock.

So part of my resurrection discipline is to continue this process of opening my eyes to the world and acknowledging how little I know about it.  During Lent, I met White Christians who still struggle to get the Confederate flag out of their sanctuaries, Presbyterian sisters and brothers whose church property includes a slave cemetery, other Presbyterians trying to heal deep and horrible wounds in Jasper, TX.  I’ve watched my home state decide to restrict the rights of LGBTQ citizens.

Resurrection is about Jesus rising from the grave.  It’s also about us reaching out to other children of God so that they might rise up to live with the dignity and respect that Jesus never got.  Jesus died for them, as well as for me and mine.


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