Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Practice Resurrection - a new series for Eastertide

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.

My friend Micha reminded me, also, from N.T. Wright:
Easter “ought to be an eight-day festival, with champagne served after morning prayer or even before…"
I went back to my copy of Surprised by Hope and found the context for that wild suggestion (and, believe me, come Monday morning, I was searching for any last drops of our Easter lunch champagne!)  Here's more:
"... 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..."
 The past two days -- in between sips of champagne -- I've dreamed 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?  

Here's my idea:  For the next six-ish weeks we'll celebrate taking up new things. With N.T. Wright and Wendell Berry for inspiration,  I'll invite some guest posts from people I admire for the things they know how to do that I do not (and maybe you don't either) and for the ways they practice resurrection in their everyday lives.  

But that's not all!  I want you to play along from home.  Take something up and share it with us.  Maybe a six week dance class?  We want you to show us a picture.  Planting spring flowers (maybe a new variety this year)?  Show us!  Taking 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. Take up something new. (one day or fifty days doesn't matter, just one thing that's new to you)
  2. Take a picture and write a description in 50 words or less.
  3. Share it with me via an email or facebook message (for now.  I'm working on one or two other ways you can share with us.)  I'll come up with a fun way to share your photo-story 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.
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