May 5th, 2011

prophecy girl

[29] Resurrection is a Process (Easter Sunday sermon 2011)

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Resurrection is a Process

“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb...” (John 20:1)

A couple Wednesdays before Easter, I learned that the West Somerville churches were having their Easter sunrise service at 6am. I balked, because sunrise on Easter Sunday was at 5:50am this year, and Easter sunrise service is supposed to begin in darkness, moving into light both liturgically and literally.

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So, I realized I never posted about faith-sharing group's "Resurrection" session.

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:
Ezekiel 37:1-14
John 11:1-45
+ 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 ♥


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