“Let him easter in us….” That is one of the last lines (line 277) in the poem “The Wreck of the Deutschland” by Gerald Manley Hopkins (July 28, 1844 – June 8, 1889), an English Jesuit priest and poet. Hopkins is writing about a steamship, The Deutschland, that ran aground about twenty-five miles off the English coast. His poem is dedicated to five Franciscans nuns who were fleeing persecution in Germany and died in that shipwreck.
Towards the end of the poem Hopkins speaks of his hope that Christ will enter our lives. “Let him easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us.” Hopkins understands and uses Easter as a verb rather than a noun. It is a reminder that Easter is something that happens to us. Easter is about action, about living, about transformation. Christ enters and easters in us. He shares his risen life with us. As St Paul says,
It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:19-20)
Christ eastering within us means we have a new center and core from which we live. We now live Christ’s life. Easter is more than a day, an event, a remembrance. It is a way of life.
So what would it mean for your life if you knew Easter as a verb rather than a noun? How will your life be different with Christ eastering in you?