During Lent, the phrase retrieve lament captures my imagination 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:
Last year, after attending Good Friday service together, my daughters and I talked honestly about how sometimes Eastertide 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.
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.
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 five 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 traveling across the world to meet new people.
Whatever it is, will you send me a photo along with a short caption to share on the blog?
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!
Here's a few examples from friends I asked to contribute to our first post:
Three steps to contribute your photo story (after reading the Wendell Berry poem below!)
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 Instagram (you can tag me with @asacramentallife or use the #PracticeResurrection2017 hashtag.) I'll share some of your photo-stories with everyone here each week
The best place to start is reading this beautiful poem again.
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.