Sarcastic Lutheran tweeted the Monday before Lazarus Sunday: Question of the day: how does the resurrection matter to people who aren't churchy? how does a "theologian of the cross" preach Easter?
I was fascinated by this question, and so at faith-sharing group that Tuesday (the first one we had), when we opened up the floor for people to volunteer to lead moving forward, I lifted up the idea of Resurrection. I very much didn't want to impose on the group, but other people were excited about it, too, so \o/
I'd double-booked myself, so I ended up not leading until the Tuesday of Holy Week.
I came prepared with a whole bunch of texts, because that's how I roll:
+ Wendell Berry's "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front" (from whence the phrase "practice resurrection")
+ I had wanted to include quotations from Nora Gallagher's Practicing Resurrection, but I couldn't find where I'd put them
+ Lazarus Sunday readings:
+ Jeremy's post on Jesus re-spawning (and Becca's comment about Jesus regenerating, a la Dr. Who)
+ "funerals for the living" (Monica Coleman blog post, hat-tip: Maria)
+ Marc Cohn's "Walking In Memphis" (which I'd heard at the gym recently)
As you might guess, I ended up just talking about some of the thoughts I brought with me (including the fact that daily lectionary apparently included ALL the raising-from-the-dead stories, which for me begged the question, "So what makes Jesus' Resurrection different?") and not taking out any of the readings.
Rowan had a copy of the spring 2009 ("resurrection stories") issue of consp!re magazine, and we read the opening poem several times. I borrowed her copy of the magazine (and may order myself a copy online, though I think I copied down all the quotations I really wanted to keep in the two weeks that followed). I really wanted to read the poem to you, LJ, but every time I tried it didn't sound right, and eventually I gave up and went to bed. I did type it up for you, though. It's written in strips of capslock typewriter font, and at first I was going to preserve the "stanza" breaks, but then that wasn't working, so I just put in breaks where there is a literal page break.
In order to talk about Jesus' Resurrection, we ended up talking about what led up to Jesus' death, and so I told ALL the stories. I very much didn't want to present just my preferred version, so I kept doing the, "Well one version says this, and one version says that," and I felt a bit abashed at how poor my knowledge is when working without sources at hand. (It made me want to immerse myself in the Gospel narratives, to internalize these stories so much more.)
Eventually Kayla had to actually stop me in the interest of time, force me to move through the Holy Week narrative with less detail -- but when I ~apologized at the end of session, she said she loved it, that she is usually having these conversations with people who don't have that level of knowledge about Christian stories (she's UU) and so she never would have imagined that there would be so much in, for example, the Holy Week story, that she would have to ask someone to leave out some details in the interest of time.
Unitarian Jew Sarah (who loves pre-Easter Jesus) asked me lots of questions, and at the end of session she told me she thought my answers were so "satisfying" which she has found so rarely ♥
may all who turn these pages
feel your touch at their elbow;
may all who get out of bed
to face this day hear the sun rise in song;
may all who wonder, wander, and work on the impossible
taste and see that the lord is good
all the time and all the time
today we will let water run when we should have
shut it off
we will chase doubt around the living room
we will pretend we did not hear
we will do too much
we will ask why no one noticed
tomorrow we will sin and shine
but just now we will sing with the singer;
breathe with all breath,
the whole easter season makes me feel like a
four year old. even when i pick something really
perfect to give up for lent. even when i get
to church every time i should; read everything i
should; go on as many walks as necessary to get
me into the whole process--the deepest part of
me still wants to lie on the floor and pound the
ground with the bottoms of my feet while i rant
(at multiple, ear-piercing pitches) about how no
one asked me if it was ok for jesus to die so
that i might live.
because i would have said no.
not no thank you.
christ has died. indeed.
i didn't see that one coming--
gravel where i expected soft dry dirt
more when i wanted less
dead is dead. indeed.
crickets and bullfrogs still sing.
you died and rose again.
but i still carry great stones up steep hills.
is it about the miracle--
or the defiance of your own natural laws?
or were you just getting the dodge out of... hell?
oh sometimes it makes me tremble
christ has risen--indeed.
risen is different than alive
to be completely frank, i've found the not-dead-
anymore jesus a bit aloof. sure. i touched his
wounds--but there were never again those long
late talks while the others slept. he never
again brushed the hair back from my face or
laughed when i was funny--
and i am still funny
sometimes it makes me tremble.
the music didn't swell
and we didn't sing
and do a dance that we all knew without practicing
he simply came to our place of fear and reminded
us that we loved him
and each other;
that simplicity would come only when we embraced
because in christ all things hold together
and in that mystery, all things are bathed indeed.