Thursday, April 16, 2015

#practiceresurrection2015: something old, something new, something borrowed and something floral


Wild milkweed Laurel Rudd lets grow in her yard to attract monarch butterflies (and bees, apparently), from her 2013 guest post:  Take Up Something New: plant a flower garden

Be a gardener


There is a treasure in the earth

that is a food tasty and pleasing
to the Lord.
Be a gardener.
Dig and ditch,
toil and sweat,
and turn the earth upside down
and seek the deepness
and water the plants in time.
Continue this labor
and make sweet floods to run
and noble and abundant fruits
to spring.
Take this food and drink
and carry it to God
as your true worship.

Julian of Norwich
"There is a treasure in the earth" in Meditations with Julian of Norwich

I have hit a wall in my life, lost my way, burnt to a crisp the most true parts of myself.  Some of this is a natural result of living in a fallen world that costs lots of money, requiring the "toil and sweat of our brow".  Partly to blame, too, the factors that made me anxious when I was a little girl, old and worried -- using up those fresh, innocent nerves long before their time.  Part of me is still that little girl who didn't know how to say "Stop". When something live and green and fresh springs up in my life now -- free time, for example -- I treat the life like an unknown enemy and stomp it all down with burdens.  

This is where the rest of the blame for my exhaustion is my own damned (and sinful) fault. Burden is more familiar than freedom and unfamiliar feels scary.  So when I find myself living with space and time sometimes I smash it all down with more things to do.  When I find myself feeling light and strong I weigh it all down with calories and sloth so I can get back to the familiar weight of heaviness.  When I laugh too much, an old voice says "You're dropping your guard!  Go back to worry so you can be prepared for danger."  Lightness will get you killed.

Oh, how I need resurrection.  

And so I need Lent to teach me the holiness -- rather than cursedness -- of suffering.  Otherwise my life takes on a pall of self-righteous fatalism.  

But, oh how much more I need Easter to teach me the way of truth:  I shall not die, but I shall live!

To practice resurrection, I've found I must walk faithfully, imperfectly, even occasionally dutifully through the Church Calendar.  I must grow younger through the passing of kairos even as my fallen self ages toward the death of chronos time.  And the truth of it is that even with all the counselling and healing prayer and life-giving confession and forgiveness I've received, none has offered me more life than living in the rhythms of feasting and fasting prescribed by the history of our Church.

How now do I feast?  Certainly, indulgence is not feasting, rather idolatry.  Frenetic worship is not feasting, rather a form of self-comfort.  Blind hope, trust and platitude are not feasting, rather sloth, pride or fear.

How do I practice resurrection?  

The answer I've learned:  one step at a time.

I try to be like the infamous, imperceptive disciples walking toward their Emmaus home, asking questions, following Spirit-infused instincts, hover around life, invite Life to come home and have dinner at my table.  And every once in a while the Spirit of God flutters my almost-dead eyelids and I get an eyeful of the Firstborn of Creation -- our risen Christ.  Right there with me -- eating and drinking and telling stories of life.

I start with the old things:  Scripture, Church, Prayer.  And then visit some new things: poems, music, art.  And mix in generously with daily generative things: walks, conversations, candles, fresh food, flowers, champagne, neighbors, gardens.



In the muddle of my exhausted mind, I'd forgotten what practices strengthen my life and hope muscles.  I actually had to sit down and make a list.  One column these things do not bring me life, the other these things do bring me life.

Near the top of the list?  Flowers.

On Holy Saturday, in silent, but hopeful mourning, I'd filled up a shopping basket with living, growing beauty.  I shuffled them around my house and porch until I was certain each one was placed in the sort of contented arrangement that will ensure a long, healthy life. 

Writing the list helped me remember that I love planting flower gardens!  I've been trying and failing at vegetables.  But one time in my life I planted a flower bed that lived in spite of my bumbling self.  And, so we begin tending our yard again, hoping to bring beauty out of the soon-to-be-scorched Texas earth.

In the meantime, I tend the little plants I welcomed into our home during our Easter vigil.



My poor little office succulents have been suffering and I hadn't even noticed.

And I begin walking neighborhoods, hunting flora and fauna. Thankfully, Texas does spring well and there's a lot to find.  These roses at our church's new home, an old building becoming new.



And I look to you, my friends, to share photo stories of life with me.  Would you join me?  Help me discover the true life found in the wake of the First of Resurrection, our Christ?  Would you even boldly add the most ubiquitous punctuation of our time -- the humble hashtag -- so that we could all share in your moments of feasting?

#practiceresurrection2015

I've begun collecting your photo stories to share in a Monday morning post and would love to include yours!

Three steps to play along:
  1. Add something to your day that helps you practice resurrection. (one day or fifty days doesn't matter)
  2. Take a picture and write a description in 1-50 words.
  3. Share it with me via an email, Facebook or hashtag it on Twitter or Instagram#practiceresurrection2015.  I'll share some of your photo-stories with everyone here each week.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
For more ideas, see the bullet list in the photo in the middle of this post.  I'm grateful to Amy at Splendor in the Ordinary for planting this seed of thought for me way back in 2009.
Now it's your turn. Who wants to join me?


Monday, April 13, 2015

#practiceresurrection2015 - Who wants to join me?




During Lent the phrase retrieve lament captured me through the words of Rilke.  During the Great Fifty Days of Easter, it's the lovable contrarian Wendell Berry exhorting my imagination with two words (plus many more):  Practice resurrection.

If that weren't enough, my mom and sisters and I are reading Surprised by Hope together this Eastertide.  And it helped me remember the passage I'd fallen in love with a couple of years ago after first reading the book: 
"... we should be taking steps to celebrate Easter in creative new ways: in art, literature, children's games, poetry, music, dance, festivals, bells, special concerts, anything that comes to mind.  this is our greatest festival....This is our greatest day. We should put the flags out.
...if Lent is a time to give things up, Easter ought to be a time to take things up. Champagne for breakfast again -- well, of course....The forty days of the Easter season, until the ascension, ought to be a time to balance out Lent by taking something up, some new task or venture, something wholesome and fruitful and outgoing and self-giving. You may be able to do it only for six weeks, just as you may be able to go without beer or tobacco only for the six weeks of Lent. But if you really make a start on it, it might give you a sniff of new possibilities, new hopes, new ventures you never dreamed of. It might bring something of Easter into your innermost life..."
I spent the first week of Easter dreaming up ways to celebrate -- practice, even -- Resurrection with you my dear blog readers.  After we meditated and storied lament, how might we make much of the festal Easter hope?  

I loved the photo stories you shared with me back in 2013 and want to do that again, but a bit more simply.

For the next six weeks (from now until Pentecost), will you join me in feasting on Resurrection goodness in our everyday lives?  It can be as simple as a special candle you use for your meals during Eastertide or as elaborate as travelling across the world to meet new people.  Whatever it is, will you show us a picture and tell us a few words?   Plant spring flowers (maybe a new variety this year)?  Show us! Get up to see the sun rise on a Sunday morning?  Tell us about it! Take a new route to work (maybe taking more time than necessary in honor of the mad farmer)?  Share it!



Three steps to play along:
  1. Add something to your day that helps you practice resurrection. (one day or fifty days doesn't matter)
  2. Take a picture and write a description in 1-50 words.
  3. Share it with me via an email, Facebook or hashtag it on Twitter or Instagram #practiceresurrection2015.  I'll share some of your photo-stories with everyone here each week.
Who's in with me?

Best place I can think to start is to sit with the mad farmer and a cup of tea. 
Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
 by Wendell Berry
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion – put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.
.....

april 12


Here's my first  #practiceresurrection2015 photo to get us started.



"I woke up early Sunday morning wanting to see an Eastertide sun rise.  Unfortunately, it was a pretty foggy day on Mount Bonnell, but a new day, nonetheless." 


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
For ideas, see the bullet list in the photo at the top of this post.  I'm grateful to Amy at Splendor in the Ordinary for planting this seed of thought for me way back in 2009.
Now it's your turn. Who wants to join me?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Easter daybook, 8: he showed them his hands and his side

An Easter daybook for these 7 weeks of Alleluia! Join me, won't you? 

(see all Easter daybook 2015 posts here)

.....
look


The Left Artist's Hand - Mikhail Vrublev
source

.....
read

John 20:19-31: Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord..."

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. source

.....
listen



Come Love, See My Hands
 Brooke Waggoner

Listen to my Resurrection playlist here

.....

do


download a copy by using this link: 
http://www.christchurchofaustin.org/sites/default/files/cc-eastertide-devotional-2015.pdf

.....

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Easter daybook, 7: the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed

An Easter daybook for these 7 weeks of Alleluia! Join me, won't you? 

(see all Easter daybook 2015 posts here)

.....
look


Make All Things New - James B. Janknegt
source
.....
read

Daniel 2:24-49:  ...the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever. 

{all readings for the day: Psalm 133;Daniel 2:24-49;John 12:44-50 }

.....
pray  

We thank you, heavenly Father, that you have delivered us from the dominion of sin and death and brought us into the kingdom of your Son; and we pray that, as by his death he has recalled us to life, so by his love he may raise us to eternal joys; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. source

.....
listen



We Will All Be Changed
 Seryn

Listen to my Resurrection playlist here

.....

do


download a copy by using this link: 
http://www.christchurchofaustin.org/sites/default/files/cc-eastertide-devotional-2015.pdf

.....

Friday, April 10, 2015

Easter daybook, 6: He removes kings and sets up kings


An Easter daybook for these 7 weeks of Alleluia! Join me, won't you? 

(see all Easter daybook 2015 posts here)

.....
look


The Trinity in Glory - Titian, 1552
source
.....
read

Daniel 2:1-23:  Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; He removes kings and sets up kings...

{all readings for the day: Psalm 133;Daniel 2:1-23;Acts 4:23-31 }

.....
pray  

Almighty Father, who gave your only Son to die for our sins and to rise for our justification: Give us grace so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen. source

.....
listen



All Hail Christ
 Hope College Worship 2014-15

Listen to my Resurrection playlist here

.....

do


download a copy by using this link: 
http://www.christchurchofaustin.org/sites/default/files/cc-eastertide-devotional-2015.pdf

.....

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Easter daybook, 5: How good it is when brothers dwell in unity.

An Easter daybook for these 7 weeks of Alleluia! Join me, won't you? 

(see all Easter daybook 2015 posts here)

.....
look


John and Peter Running to the Tomb - Eugene Burnand
source
.....
read

Psalm 133:  Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.

{all readings for the day: Psalm 133;Daniel 1:1-21;Acts 2:42-47 }

.....
pray 

 Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's  Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. source

.....
listen

The Passover Song
 Sean Carter + Caroline Cobb

Listen to my Resurrection playlist here

.....
do


download a copy by using this link: 
http://www.christchurchofaustin.org/sites/default/files/cc-eastertide-devotional-2015.pdf

.....


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