Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Last year about this time I had a conversation with a pastor friend from Virginia. He noted that his congregation had decided to carry the theme of resurrection all the way through the Easter season until Pentecost, seven weeks after Easter Sunday. His reasoning: if we are going to dedicate a whole season of Lent to repentance and wilderness wandering we also ought to dedicate a whole season to celebrating the ways we experience and practice resurrection. Makes sense to me.
So, this year, for the next six Sundays, our worship will proceed with the theme Practice Resurrection, the final phrase from Wendell Berry’s poem “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front,” an excerpt of which appears above. We are resurrection people, and resurrection is not merely something to be believed, but something to be practiced. We practice new life which, in turn, takes on a life of its own.
Throughout the poem Berry gives different glimpses of what practicing resurrection might look like:
So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Plant sequoias. Say that your main crop is the forest that you did not plant, that you will not live to harvest.
Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.
This will be one of five poems read this Sunday – in place of a sermon – as four other CMCers will be sharing poetry that speaks to them of resurrection/hope/beauty.
Here are the ways we’ll be Practicing Resurrection during the Sundays of Eastertide:
April 12: Practicing resurrection through poetry and song.
April 19: Healing in the wake of John Howard Yoder’s abuses (a prominent Mennonite theologian).
April 26: “Forgive us our debts” and the practice of Jubilee
May 3: Justice work in Franklin County through our partnerships with BREAD
May 10: Celebrating new CMC members and renewing our commitments to one another
May 17: Guest speaker Carol Wise, Coordinator for the Supportive Communities Network.