Easter blessings all.
Now let’s get to work.
Once a week I am doing a video reflection for the Second Congregational Church in Londonderry, VT which I attend. This is today’s reflection. This is what I wrote. The video link is below. Easter blessings one and all.
Today, I thought I would share with you portions of a poem written by Wendell Berry, an American novelist, poet, environmental activist and farmer. This is from his poem Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.
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.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millennium. 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.
I particularly like that last line.
Now that we have celebrated Easter,
Like the disciples of Jesus,
The question becomes how will we live it.
How will we practice resurrection now that we have experienced and celebrated it?
Where we are and how we are.
And also tomorrow with whatever tomorrow brings.
I leave you with this prayer.
Remind us of strength, O God.
The strength to care.
The strength to share.
The strength we can lean on.
When we find life hard or challenging or painful.
Remind us of grace, O God.
A grace which heals.
A grace which opens us to hope.
A grace which meets us in the midst of each day
And turns our lives in a new direction.
Remind us of Your dream, O God.
A dream of swords into plowshares.
A dream of a table large enough for all.
A dream of a time and a place when and where
All are named and welcomed as sisters and brothers.
Thy kingdom come.
Remind us of gratitude, O God.
For love which sustains.
For food enough.
For who we are and for who we are called to be.
This morning I invite you into a conversation.
About where you see it and experience it.
About where and how in your life you “practice” it.
A conversation about hope.
About new life.
About that moment when, for you and others around you, the Kingdom of God is right here and right now.
As a prompt and to give you a moment to think, several brief reflections on resurrection. First, something I wrote this week for my blog.
The headlines are harsh.
Describing a reality I read about.
But do not know.
The tomb is real.
The bombs are real.
The fear is real.
The ruthlessness is real.
Yet, somewhere a stone is rolled back.
Just a bit.
And life pushes its way out.
Into the harshness of the headlines.
Refusing to bow down.
Or to be silent.
Or to hide.
Do I feel it?
Or see it?
But not always.
But it does not depend on me.
Beyond my seeing
It is there.
And these two reflections which Leslie Mott, our Coordinator for Spirituality and Practice, used in our Spirituality groups this past week. The first is a few lines from Wendell Berry’s poem, Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.
So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute.
Love the Lord.
Love the world.
Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.
And, this…. (I am not sure where this is from.)
“Once in a parish mission when I was studying this scripture with a large group (Luke 7: 11-17/Jesus raising a young man who had died), someone called our harshly, ‘Have you ever brought someone back from the dead?’ I had been saying that life happens when we are interrupted, and that some of the most powerful acts of resurrection happen to the least likely people; that we are the people of resurrection and hope, called to live passionately and compassionately with others, to defy death, to forgive, and to bring others back into the community, to do something that is life-giving, that fights death and needless suffering. And then this challenge from the back of the church.
My response was ‘Yes.’
I went on to say, ‘Every time I bring hope to a situation, every time I bring joy that shatters despair, every time I forgive others and give them back dignity and the possibility of a future with me and others in the community, every time I speak the truth in public, every time I confront injustice – yes – I bring people back from the dead.”
- Where/when/how do you bring people back from the dead or see them brought back from the dead?
- Where do you experience Easter?
- Where do you experience hope or forgiveness or welcome?
[Here we had a 10 minute conversation about where we see and experience Easter.]
And, to wrap up, two additional reflections…
John 21 (read the entire narrative yourself)
But here is what strikes me about this passage.
After the experience of the resurrection, whenever and however that happened, the disciples returned to Galilee, where they had lived their entire lives, and went fishing, which they had done their entire lives. It was there where they lived each day that they met Jesus. Maybe the same is true or can be true for us.
I had a second letter (the first letter was written to the children and shared earlier in the service) in my empty Easter basket this morning.
Dear Bedford Presbyterian Church,
Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place.
And, it makes a difference.
Today, I would like you to remember this.
Easter is, not Easter was.
Yesterday was Easter.
On a normal Monday I am tired.
On the Monday after Easter, I am even more tired.
I sit here wondering what one is to do on the day after resurrection?
It took so much energy to get to yesterday.
All I want to do now is take a nap.
And, do my best to enjoy it.
Or, hide somewhere until my energy returns and I figured out what comes next.
But, it doesn’t work that way, does it?
Today is the day I have.
The only day I have
And to be
I love the closing line in Wendell Berry’s poem Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.
I love it for two reasons.
First, it makes resurrection more than about Jesus which, I think, is the Biblical witness. It reminds us that, in the end, it is about you and me and who we are and how we live.
The second is the word practice.
Somewhere I read that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill.
Others researchers say 10,000 hours is way too small a number.
Either way the point is this.
If we take all this seriously, the question is can we practice resurrection with the same dedication and commitment we would bring to any other task or skill we were trying to master? At the very least, practicing resurrection means paying close attention to the world around us and being intentional about what we do and why we do it.
Many of us did Easter last Sunday.
Now is the time for us to do Easter today.