Come on up for the rising
Come on up lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight
Bruce Springsteen “The Rising” 2002
Easter is all about the rising. He is risen! He is risen, indeed!
Years ago, I arranged a mashup of Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising” and Charles Wesley’s “Christ the Lord is Risen Today”—great songs from two of my favorite lyricists. I always thought it would make a cool opening song for Easter Sunday. Every year however, I lost my nerve and never used it in worship.
You can read my devotion on “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today” on UMC.org.
Bruce wrote “The Rising” in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. In fact, the whole album called The Rising was written against the backdrop of that grief. Remarkably, however, this is a song and album of hope, love, and life.
Reflecting on The Rising, Bruce writes in his autobiography, “Death, along with all its anger, pain and loss, opens a window of possibility for the living. It removes the veil that the ‘ordinary’ gently drapes over our eyes” (Born to Run 441).
The song is the story of a first responder who gives their life on 9/11. In the bridge, however, the lyrics take a spiritual turn:
I see you Mary in the garden
In the garden of a thousand sighs
There’s holy pictures of our children
Dancing in a sky filled with light
May I feel your arms around me
May I feel your blood mix with mine
A dream of life comes to me
Like a catfish dancing on the end of my line
I once heard Bruce say that he doesn’t know who Mary is, but it seems clear to me. Here is part of the Easter story:
Mary stood outside near the tomb, crying…
As soon as she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabbouni” (which means Teacher). —John 20:11a, 14-16
Mary in a garden where tears flow for one who is lost. Then, resurrection! Jesus is alive! The whole world—Mary, you, me, all of us—is being reborn in this moment.
The tomb is empty. Jesus is alive.
As death lifts the veil of the ordinary, the Resurrection lifts the veil of death/hopelessness/defeat from our eyes. Once we see it, we can’t unsee it. Life is bursting through. God is here. Jesus is alive.
Come on up for the rising. Come on up, take your hand in mine. Come on up for the rising tonight.