“Practice resurrection.”Wendell Berry, “Manifesto:A Mad Farmer’s Liberation Front”
I have long thought of Easter as one time annual celebration, when in fact this year I have clung to the liturgical season, Eastertide, lasting from Easter Day six weeks until the coming of Pentecost, which this year comes next Sunday. This season is also contiguous with a host of our family celebrations–some significant birthdays, an important graduation, Mothers’ Day, and the opening of parade of visitors from out of state, feeling free to move around the country again.
This year the season has also coincided with a string of tragic and poignant events in the world and out country: war in Ukraine, an early start to hurricane season, long lasting fires, the continuing trajectories, up and down, of COVID, mass shootings, and personal losses, hurts and slights. So to be “eastering,” for me has been to keep learning to look for signs of new life, to dare to risk new life in my own dailiness, to celebrate them, while at the same time grieving for the individuals and communities and states and environment of the world that God made.
My “eastering” observations became the noticing over the whole six weeks of Eastertide of the slow, sweet ways in which life, new life, was emerging in dailiness and usual experiences of those I met (primarily on-line or in written communiques). I saw the process of mourning become one of resolution and deep gratitude. I watched hope deepen, windows of the soul open, new identities claimed, in spite of the grief and horror all around. There was slow healing in body and Spirit taking place. And there was a letting go of “old stories” that no longer were useful. I was amazed to see energy given to finding community, working for justice and peace. I loved the witness of those who are persisting in hope, reaching out to and for those who are ill-treated, neglected, oppressed and excluded. And it all happened right along side the terrible things!
I will honor the celebration of the coming of the Spirit this weekend, but recognize that She has been at work all along, teaching, healing, encouraging, giving wisdom and power. For my part in this turn into this extraordinary, Ordinary Time, I am brought back to this word of wisdom from Marvin Hiles that I have carried with me for many years:
To live sweetly in the bitter day,
to shape beauty among the grotesque,
to exult in the littles and to declare in the midst of brokenness a wholeness that comes now and ultimately!
May the Spirit descend on me and all of us to empower the quiet work of “eastering!”