Saturday, April 02, 2016

Practice Resurrection: send me your photos and captions!

For the next six weeks (from now until Pentecost), will you join me in feasting on Resurrection goodness in our everyday lives?

During Lent, the phrase retrieve lament captures 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.

I also remember each year the passage I've fallen in love with from N.T. Wright:

"... 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..."
After attending Good Friday service together this year, my daughters and I talked honestly about how sometimes Easter feels like a let-down. It seems to be easier to understand fasting better that feasting. We thought that might be, in part, because our world is generally obsessed with feasting, and whatever we try to do to mark Eastertide feels like the stuff we're normally trying to do every day anyway. 

Maybe so. 

I wonder, too, if sometimes feasting shows more plainly how far away from God we still live. When I can be satisfied in just the right amount of wine or chocolate, that is feasting. When I can't stop either one, that turns into gluttony - which is no longer true feasting. In some ways, fasting is easier, see?

Put another way: feasting is a discipline, too. We take in the good with gratitude and contentment without making an idol of the gifts. This requires us to depend on the Creator as much (maybe more so) as any other spiritual exercise.

So that's what I've been pondering.

The last couple of years, we've celebrated Eastertide on this blog with photos and captions you send me each week. It's one of my favorite series all year, and I'm excited it's time to start again!

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. I'll share some of your photo-stories with everyone here each week.

Who's in?

Thank you to these friends who are helping me kick off this weekly series: 

"I journeyed and prayed through the prayer labyrinth this morning out at the Shrine of St. Therese. There I laid my sorrows down. There I thanked Him for His suffering and enduring the cross. There I laid the 25 years of my marriage down. There I begged Him to be kind and gracious and to forgive my failures. He is full of grace and freedom. Thank you Jesus for all you are to me." (Wendy Wall, Juneau, AK)

(I love an artist willing to share a photo of his work in progress!) "Day one of my next parable painting : Mark 4:26-29 26 He also said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.’ " (Jim Janknegt, Austin)

"We haven't traveled locally nearly as much here in Texas.... I think we have to be really intentional or else it doesn't happen, what with city life and unbelievable traffic in our day-to-day. Today? We decided to let the kids take a day off school and take their learning on the road - just like we used to. Feels good to find a familiar rhythm today." (Tsh Oxenreider, Austin. By the way, you can read about this excursion at Tsh's blog, The Art of Simple)


"Easter welcomes outdoor running on Lake Michigan." (Sarah Lewis, Chicago)

"A few little vignettes from today's Easter feast with darling friends. I'm so happy to have had a house full of laughing and toasting and food." / "Phaedra printed a collection of posters for Easter and placed them throughout the house. It was like a scavenger hunt for words that dearly need to be true and images that made our spaces beautiful. God knows I need his resurrection life, and thank Jesus for it." (Phaedra & David Taylor, Richmond, TX)

"Just because!" (Kim & Gracie Akel, Austin)

"I was overwhelmed today that God would send me to Japan at such a gloriously beautiful time as cherry blossom blooming. I'm so glad he knows our hearts and gives us these good gifts." (Tammy Burger, Binghamton, NY)

Prelude to Vespers, Easter Sunday at Orcas Island Community Church  (Brian Moss, Eastsound, WA)

Now it's your turn. Who wants to join us?

The best place to start is with another reading of the poem that inspires our Eastertide blog series....

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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