Protesting Death / Practicing Resurrection [Eastertide 2018]

     A Living Hope / A Living Protest Against Death  by  Meena Matocha

 

A Living Hope / A Living Protest Against Death by Meena Matocha

 

I never intended to stop updating the blog for Eastertide. Normally, I post each Sunday and once a week with the photos you send me showing the ways you're practicing resurrection right where you live. We kind of slumped into the season this year - which is completely antithetical to our intention. After a beautiful celebration with our church family, we both fell under the weather. Brian's suffered a horrible sinus infection and thrown out his back, and I've been fighting off some besetting ailments. 

And then we received heart-breaking news from Austin about an accident that nearly claimed the life of our friend Christine Warner. For days we refreshed our messages constantly hoping for the news to get better. I spent several days stomping around my house shouting at God to fix this right now! Of course I have only the authority He's given me to make such audacious requests, but I knew our prayers were like paper boats we launched into a global stream of intercession flowing like a river to our God.

In the back of my mind - and in the nighttime when I couldn't sleep - I argued with God that this was no way to illustrate resurrection. He's persisted to tell me otherwise. Not only has Christine remained alive, although severely injured, but even if she had not - even if she does not - the act of protesting death in prayer has only served to increase the ferocity of our hope for resurrection. It's also reminded us of the glory of ordinary, walking-around, being together here-and-now lives.

In this world we are always surrounded by death even when we don't know the name of the victim, and can't tell you her favorite brand of chocolate and the color of her tea cozy. We are always, at all times joining in the protest against death every time we set our eyes toward Jesus, the risen Lord who is right this moment sitting in his resurrected body next to the Father interceding for us living amongst all this death. When we worship Him, name Him, shout to Him our anguish we are reminding ourselves and each other that DEATH IS DEAD and our ultimate reality is life, life, and more life.

Today, I happen to know by name a woman in critical condition in Austin, TX. She has beautiful red hair, laughing brown eyes, and the most brilliant way of speaking life into every one she meets. She loves Toblerone and Diet Dr. Pepper, her husband and her four children. She loves her church as well as the poorest of the poor. She loves Jesus. She is protesting death with each painful breath she takes, and we join her in our fierce hope in power of the risen Christ. 

Here's some information if you'd like to pray with us: Pray for Christine - Christ Church of Austin

Here is an astonishing image our friend Meena created in response to the Austin community's grief and prayer for Christine.

     Prayers of the People  by  Meena Matocha

 

Prayers of the People by Meena Matocha

Our family's been praying from Psalm 33:18-22 this week:

"Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon those who fear him, on those who wait upon his love. To pluck their lives from death and keep her alive in turmoil.

Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our shield and our help. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love be upon the Warner family, as we put our trust in you."

Here is a way you can give to the Warner family:


We offer up this prayer for Christine now, entrusting her to the Lord’s care:

You designed our bodies, O Lord, with a wondrous capacity for regeneration and healing. You give wisdom and knowledge and skill to those who by long training in their professions learn to diagnose and treat ailments of the body. And you, by your Spirit, sometimes effect miracles of healing that even the most skilled of practitioners cannot duplicate. Heal Christine, we pray, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Easter Saturday: Christ holds all things together

Easter Sunday kicks off a week in the liturgical calendar known as the Easter Octave and a seven-week festival called Eastertide. Stay tuned for a variety of celebratory posts here on the blog!

     Outreach of the New Covenant  by Shin Young-Hun ( source )

 

Outreach of the New Covenant by Shin Young-Hun (source)

 

The Christ Hymn

Everything holds together, everything,
From stars that pierce the dark like living sparks,
To secret seeds that open every spring,
From spanning galaxies to spinning quarks,
Everything holds together and coheres,
Unfolding from the center whence it came.
And now that hidden heart of things appears,
The first-born of creation takes a name.

And shall I see the one through whom I am?
Shall I behold the one for whom I’m made,
The light in light, the flame within the flame,
Eikon tou theou, image of my God?
He comes, a little child, to bless my sight,
That I might come to him for life and light.

In whom all things hold together

And when we had invented death,
had severed every soul from life
we made of these our bodies sepulchers.
And as we wandered dying, dim
among the dying multitudes,
He acquiesced to be interred in us.
And when He had descended thus
into our persons and the grave
He broke the limits, opening the grip,
He shaped of every sepulcher a womb.

In whom all things hold together

And this is he
Who takes all that he is
And bestows it freely
Gives meekly
Takes infinite power and bows the knee
Have you ever seen God on the ground?
Palms pressed to the floor
Sweat dripping on the dirt
The cut and stretch of being human
A sacred shelter of presence
Fullness of He, creator of kingdoms and galaxies,
principalities
And every moment crafted through time, the divine,
Placed wholly in human flesh,
The infinite squashed down into finite,
Like fitting ten thousand angels on the top of a pin
Like the entire ocean is poured into a pool
Like the wine is running over
Like it’s bursting at the seams
The Christ
He is bursting at the seams

In whom all things hold together

Anticipating long stretches of nothingness
we plunge south into California on I-5,
prepared to be bored, uninterested in the view,
and a bit worried that we too may

commit monotony. But then, over us, clouds
contribute their lenticular magnitude to
the two-dimensional—carved by winds into
stream-lined eagles or space craft or B-52s.

I take sky photos through the windshield,
admitting that in spite of anonymity, there is never
nothing. Required to obey gravity,
we occupy open space with substance,

all of us on the skin of the planet created
to lift against the earth’s pull, yet sustained entirely.
We live out our singularity along with olive and
almond trees, oleanders, tarmac, huge trucks,

until size becomes irrelevant: smoke blue coastal range,
stem of dry grass, brittle eucalyptus leaf,
pebble ground into the ground—each bears love’s print,
is held particular within the universe.

Even the small, soft moth on the window of
the rest area’s dingy washroom, unaware of our scrutiny,
its russet wings traced with intricacies of gray,
owns an intrinsic excellence.

In whom all things hold together
THE CHRIST HYMN, music and chorus by Alana Levandoski, poetry by Malcolm Guite, Scott Cairns, Joel McKerrow, Luci Shaw

Listen to The Christ Hymn by Alana Levandoski: SpotifyYouTube

Artist's statement from the Behold, I Make All Things New album liner notes:

"When I initially discovered that the first chapter of Colossians contains an early hymn, my imagination was sparked with wanting to make a work of art about it. In the end, to do this better justice, I enlisted four great poets of our time to dance with this hymn. I asked Malcolm Guite, Scott Cairns, Joel McKerrow and Luci Shaw to contribute a recitation to this composition. While I gave them each a line from the hymn, they also spent time with the hymn in its entirety.

These are the lines:

To Malcolm, I gave — He is the image of the unseen God, the firstborn of all creation.

To Scott, I gave — He is the firstborn from the dead.

To Joel, I gave — God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.

To Luci, I gave — Every creature in heaven and earth

Get full album: www.alanalevandoski.com


(Read Eastertide posts from previous years here.)

Easter Friday: Shout for joy

Easter Sunday kicks off a week in the liturgical calendar known as the Easter Octave and a seven-week festival called Eastertide. Stay tuned for a variety of celebratory posts here on the blog!

     Easter Morning  or  Easter Mystery  by Maurice Denis ( source )

 

Easter Morning or Easter Mystery by Maurice Denis (source)

 

Shout for Joy

All we can do, in this deep summer hour
With the rain, the taxis and the flowers
Walking between the dear ones holding on
Is shout, shout for joy

Everything that has been broken you’ll mend
Throughout the morning of one day
Sleeves fluttering in the air, in the air
And we’ll shout, shout for joy

I said so little
I could not think of replies
The words all flew away
Up away from me, up into the trees
Where they shout, shout for joy
Shout for Joy by The Innocence Mission

 

Listen to Shout for Joy by The Innocence Mission: SpotifyYouTube


(Read Eastertide posts from previous years here.)

Easter Thursday: Morning has broken

Easter Sunday kicks off a week in the liturgical calendar known as the Easter Octave and a seven-week festival called Eastertide. Stay tuned for a variety of celebratory posts here on the blog!

     Calm Morning  by Fairfield Porter ( source )

 

Calm Morning by Fairfield Porter (source)

 

Morning has broken

"Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the word.
Sweet, the rain’s new fall, sunlit from Heaven
Like the first dew fall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where His feet passed.
Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day."

-- Morning Has Broken by The Chieftains featuring Diana Krall & Art Garfunkel

Listen to Morning Has Broken, by The Chieftains, featuring Art Garfunkel and Diana Krall: SpotifyYouTube


(Read Eastertide posts from previous years here.)

Easter Wednesday: I'll Rise

Easter Sunday kicks off a week in the liturgical calendar known as the Easter Octave and a seven-week festival called Eastertide. Stay tuned for a variety of celebratory posts here on the blog!

     The Dreamer  by Steve Prince ( source )

 

The Dreamer by Steve Prince (source)

I'll Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter twisted lies
You may trod me down in the very dirt
And still like the dust I’ll rise

Does my happiness upset you
Why are you best with gloom
Cause I laugh like I’ve got an oil well
Pumpin’ in my living room

So you may shoot me with your words
You may cut me with your eyes
And I’ll rise
I’ll rise
I’ll rise

Out of the shacks of history’s shame
Up from a past rooted in pain
I’ll rise
I’ll rise
I’ll rise

Now did you want to see me broken
Bowed head and lowered eyes
Shoulders fallen down like tear drops
Weakened by my soulful cries

Does my confidence upset you
Don’t you take it awful hard
Cause I walk like I’ve got a diamond mine
Breakin up in my front yard

So you may shoot me with your words
You may cut me with your eyes
And I’ll rise
I’ll rise
I’ll rise

Out of the shacks of history’s shame
Up from a past rooted in pain
I’ll rise
I’ll rise
I’ll rise

So you may write me down in history
With your bitter twisted lies
You may trod me down in the very dirt
And still like the dust I’ll rise

Does my happiness upset you
Why are you best with gloom
Cause I laugh like I’ve got a goldmine
Diggin’ up in my living room

Now you may shoot me with your words
You may cut me with your eyes
And I’ll rise
I’ll rise
I’ll rise

Out of the shacks of history’s shame
Up from a past rooted in pain
I’ll rise
I’ll rise
I’ll rise
I'll Rise, written by Maya Angelou & sung by Ben Harper

Listen to I'll Rise, written by Maya Angelou ("Still I'll Rise") and sung by Ben Harper: SpotifyYouTube


(Read Eastertide posts from previous years here.)