practice resurrection

All of church today was about practicing resurrection. The singular question posed to the youth during Sunday school today was “what does it mean to practice resurrection.” To which none of us had a response. Stumped.

How do we incorporate something so beyond our comprehension, something so miraculous at its heart, into our a life of spiritual and religious practice and disciplines. Or in the other sense of the word, how do we repeat the event until it becomes a skill, becomes something at which we are adept?

In order to know how to practice something, I’m supposed to understand exactly what it is I’m attempting to do. How can I practice raising from the dead. But there has to be more to resurrection than that. I suspect resurrection would mean very little if its meaning centered on the particular miracle of one man’s empty tomb. What else is going on in the resurrection; what does it really mean for us?

We read through the resurrection passage in John, and it began to click. He appears to the women, to the men, to his friends. And he says in the voice which must have sounded both resoundingly familiar, and hauntingly out of place, “Peace be still”. He promises to them the kind of peace that the world cannot give, the kind of peace that surpasses all understanding, the kind of peace that is so real its presence is the Holy Spirit.

Resurrection, the whole thing of Easter is a message of hope. We sing on Easter morning “Where O death is now thy sting?” and it’s tough in world enamored of gore and violence, and one saturated in innocent death. But we sing, we sing with the confidence of a peace and a hope in restoration and joy.

Jesus appears saying that he must ascend to the Father. The promise of resurrection is the promise of presence. It is the promise of the risen Christ with and among us, alive and restored. It is the promise of the presence of the spirit, the spirit who brings the joy and peace of the creating, redeeming and sustaining God. And ultimately it is the promise of the presence of the God of Heaven and Earth, the admonition to practice resurrection means to practice hope, joy, forgiveness and ascension.

The gift of the presence of one another, of the practice of ‘being with’, is in truth that very still and quiet realization of the prayer ‘On Earth as it is in heaven.’

To practice resurrection, then, is to practice the fulfillment of our faith. Without the resurrection—the particular miracle of one man’s empty tomb—we would not have the hope and joy to face the darkness and bleakness that does in truth threaten to take life from us. Without the Resurrection, we would not be able to seek resurrection—to seek peace, and forgiveness, to sow seeds of love and hope—in the midst of small griefs and sorrows around us.

In our bulletin, a selection from Wendell Berry (a favorite for our worship bulletins) has been used recently. Here it is:
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.

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.

resurrection. redemption.

A song for new life:

New Redemption Song

Lord we need a new redemption song
Lord we’ve tried
It just seems to come out wrong
Won’t you help us please
Help us just to sing along
A new redemption song

Lord we need
A new redemption day
All our worries
Keep getting in the way

Won’t you help us please
Help us find the words to pray
To bring redemption day

Over the Rhine.

Now that that’s over

I’m back in Waco.  That’s the good part.

Everyone has their worst-case-scenario travel story.  My worst experience is still being delayed nearly five hours in Dallas on Christmas Day trying to get to the West Coast, turning my Christmas into an all-nighter, most of which was spent in an airport staring at the closed Einstein Brother’s Bagels.

This most recent experience rivals that.

I should have left Savannah at 5:30 (est) and arrived at Dallas Love about 10:20 (cst).  The first flight out of Savannah (on Continental) got cancelled, thankfully (?) due to mechanical issues so they were obligated to take care of everyone.  Continental rerouted me on Delta, which seemed fine; I would have to land at DFW instead, and an hour later, but I would make it to Texas that night, and still be able to get back to Waco, to my own bed.

Issue one: The Delta agents didn’t want to let me on the plane because “we don’t know if we have your luggage yet.”  Well what if I don’t care, what if I want to risk it?  My stuff will get there eventually.  I can’t believe I practically begged someone to get me to Texas As. Soon. As. Possible.  She let me on the plane, (I’m still wondering if she legally could have stopped me since I already had a boarding pass), and soon after I sat down (thank you for the exit-row-window-seat), the pilot came on to announce we would be taking off shortly, but we were waiting for some last minute bags.  Oh.  The airlines finally started to communicate.  That flight took off an landed in Atlanta relatively uneventfull–except we didn’t get a beverage service.  Details.

Atlanta’s airport is nice, the Chinese food was a little old.

Issue two:  Get on the plane that should have taken us from Atlanta to DFW.  Everything seems fine.  As we’re sitting at the gate, the pilot announces that we have a minor technical issue but it’s being taken care of an we’ll be off shortly.  He meant it.  Shortly we were off to the tarmac.  Where we promptly stopped.  And waiting.  “Folks, we have a flat issue; we’re going to need to wait for maintenance to come and check it out.  We’ll keep you posted.”  Waiting.  “Folks, maintenance is here but can’t fix it here, so we’re going to have to pull back to the gate.”  Sighs, groans and yawns all around.  We get assigned a gate.  “Ladies and Gentlemen the Captain has announced that if you need to use your cell phones or electronic devices now you are free to do so.”  I don’t think anyone heard the nice lady because they were all already talking on their ‘electronic devices’.  Waiting some more.  “Folks, we thank you for your patience and understanding: we’re unable to fix the problem, but we are going to get you to Dallas tonight–just on a different chariot.” (Yes, he really said chariot.)  We all de-plane, re-group, and trudge down to the new gate to get our new seat assignments.

Sub-issue two-B:  We are at Gate 24.  Announcer: “This is a gate change announcement for Delta flight 1409 to DFW.  New gate: 33.”  Half the people start walking to the alleged ‘new’ gate.  The agents at gate 24 get on the red phone, confirm that, no gate 24 is the correct gate.  Eventually we get on the plane.  Mostly all in the same seats.

All in all–we land at DFW at 1:15 a.m. (cst).  My gracious friend Erin drove even further out of her way and came to get me at such a late hour.  Instead of being able to get back to Waco last night, I took a glorified nap on her couch and got up to drive back first thing.

Going to drive to the Austin airport in a few hours to get a friend who is also flying Delta.  I’m hoping I got all the mechanical issues for the both of us and tonight’s flight will be smooooooth and on time.

That being said, the trip to South Carolina was great and mostly relaxing. (I kept the hours of a small child–and they get up early.)  I have some fun pictures and stories, so those should be coming soon.

firsts

The last few weeks have felt somewhat like what I imagine living in a pneumatic tube feels like. Meaning just closed up and tight and going until the ride ends; and also something I’ve never done before.

The Cowtown Half-Marathon turned out to be so much fun. Who knew what a great time running 13.1 miles with thousands of my closest friends could be? Wish I had pictures of my own, but it’s a little tough to carry around a camera while winning running a long-ish race. However if you go to the race website, you can find links to 2008 race photos, and find pictures from the race. Jen and I stuck together the whole time and finished strong. Not to say it was the easiest thing either of us have done, but we certainly were distracted enough from feeling every single muscle, joint, tendon and ligament in our legs by the adrenaline, crowd, spectators and random musical acts (i.e. (wo)man with her own gigantic speakers/amp playing “Lyin’ Eyes” by the (f*ing) Eagles. Yeah, that’ll really motivate me to keep running.).

Speaking of other things I’ve never done before–I’m going to drop a class–barely under the wire. It’s such an interesting place to be in, academically, to be able to make decisions based on classes for what I feel I actually need–not in terms of course or degree requirements, but in terms of what I actually need to prepare me for what I will be doing in the next few steps. And I just don’t need this class; it has ceased to be edifying to my curiosity and the area(s) towards which I find myself gravitating. So, peace out.

Today was a Nap Day. And I took one. I never get to take a Sunday afternoon nap, and boy did I take advantage today.

Tomorrow I’m going to make chicken and dumplings. With sweet potatoes. You can start bribing me for a placesetting.