Practice Resurrection 2017: send me your photos and captions!

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

Walking on the Hill of Tara, Co. Meath, Ireland - June 2016

Walking on the Hill of Tara, Co. Meath, Ireland - June 2016


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:

... 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...
— N.T. Wright, "The Challenge of Easter"

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. 

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.

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:

Granny exclaiming how it’s been a busy morning after receiving “happy 103rd birthday” phone calls! I talked to her the day after her birthday, and she gushed how wonderful it was that everyone, including her neighbors, remembered! She was busy answering the phone all day.
— Kim Akel (Austin, TX)

Joe Hall, who runs his own little bike repair shop in his garage, gave me this bike when I left [my pastorate at] Valleyview, and just before I got sick. So I never had the chance to ride it. I pulled it out of the shed today. I’m feeling much better and may be able to ride it this spring.
— Rev. David Murphy (Apalachin, NY)

I sat in on some basement playtime this afternoon. Pretty sure I’m going to have big regrets if I don’t do this more often; the cherubic lips and cheeks only last for so long. This momma heart already aches for the day they become big kids!
— Jessica Baer (Hyden, KY)

Sunshine and flowers blooming at UB! We took some time go out and pray for students before finals begin Monday.
— Megan Silver (Bridgeport, CT)

PR1.Charissa James.jpg
I almost died learning how to surf in college. Maybe a slight exaggeration - but there was definitely a “take my soul, Jesus” as I’m upside down under the surfboard going head first into the rocks moment. Which turned into a “Praise the Lord I only scraped a whole bunch of my back off!” moment - that was a total win in my book and also the end of my very short surfing career. Which brings me to - that totally SWEET moment...when you stand up on a surfboard for the first time. Surfing redemption for the win.
— Charissa James (Whittier, CA)

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 emailFacebook, 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.

Practice resurrection.

In what ways are you practicing resurrection this week?  I'd love to hear about it!