practice resurrection

12 Apr

I am never sure what to do with Easter.

Lent, I have no problem with. I am fairly good at lamenting my sins and remembering my mortality. I shed a habit yearly. I often put a new habit on, too, for forty days, until it comes to fit me as well as the old pair of blue jeans, contoured to my body after years of use. I am good at Lent. I wear ashes on my forehead and hear the words: “Dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” I confess, put away my alleluias. I wash feet or take bread and wine on Maundy Thursday. I sing and pray and watch the candles extinguished on Good Friday.

I always do celebrate Easter, for a day. Sing “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today,” feast with friends, dress up nice. And then it is over. I go back to Facebook or shopping or eating meat or whatever.

I have been thinking recently about the Great Fifty Days, what the early Christians called the season of Easter. Fifty days because the feasting of the Resurrection should trump the fasting of Lent. And yet after a good meal and a good day of church, it seems like Easter is over for me. What does it mean to live into Easter like I live into Lent?

I heard the phrase, “Practice resurrection” for the first time last year. It’s the final line to a poem by Wendell Berry, the farmer and prophet and poet. But just as often, I think of the words of my friend Samantha, who preached a beautiful sermon about practicing resurrection. If dead people get up and walk around, Samantha said, if Christ is raised, why do we worry about sounding smart enough, measuring up, or just avoiding failure?

Wendell Berry writes a litany.

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.

A to-do list of things that do not make sense.

Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.

Or, maybe, a litany of things that do not make sense except in the new light of Easter morning. The joyful task of Easter is the holy, foolish work of practicing resurrection.

I have been learning recently that I do not die to myself simply to die. I die to myself so that I will be raised again to new life. New life that never seemed possible. New life that seems ridiculous or preposterous or even foolish. Maybe Easter is the time to start living in a way that my life would not make sense if resurrection was not real.

I am writing my own litany. Of how my life might look by the light of Easter morning.

Do what you love, even if you fail. Do it even if it is flawed.
Write letters by hand.
Spend hours putting word after word after word, for joy.
Knead bread with your hands.
Spend hours making what you could buy in a minute.
Cook delicious food that will be gone in a few minutes.
Run, even if you are not fast.
Sing, even if you are not a virtuoso.
Play, even if you are not as good as you were at sixteen.
Write, even if it feels foreign and terrifying.
Speak, even if your voice shakes.
Learn to waste time well.
Learn to love recklessly, foolishly.

It’s like he says. Wendell Berry, the farmer and poet and prophet. And a bit of a holy fool himself.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

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