Sunday, April 20, 2014

2014.04.20 Eastering, 2014

How many “easters” does it take to make a resurrection? 

Answer....... depends on your own faith so it’s up for grabs. It could be none, or it could be only one, or it could be many. I say it takes daily attentiveness to the ways in which the Spirit of divinity makes things rise and arise, seeking new life always, over and over.  Will you notice?

What eastering means to me is that life’s spiritual purpose is to go around fostering as many resurrections as possible. For me that means imitating God in my own far-from-divine-but-terribly- sincere ways—and failing lots. And I wouldn't want to leave Jesus out because he lived resrrrection much better than I ever could, and in a way that his followers realized that they had seen God in action.

Most of us want to make everything happy, but sometimes things that need to rise up in you or someone else, are not so immediately joyful, certainly not worthy of multiple alleluias. Take, for example an old wound that still needs healing, or a resentment or grudge you’ve kept in hibernation in the wintry soil of your soul because you are afraid of its power to mess up your life. Let it be resurrected; let it come into the light.

I swear that God Creator resurrected Jesus, not because he was so perfect and good, but because God wanted to see Jesus’ face, alive and bright—always. And perhaps to say thank you.

Eastering is dynamic, energetic, and often demanding. You and God somehow together have to consent to it, as near-death stories tell us.  But that’s true even if you don’t biologically die. Death is not a necessary condition for resurrection. Also, there are many ways to “die” or be “dead.” 

For years I’d harbored a resentment against the bishop who had rejected me for ordination. It was buried so deep I didn’t even know it was there until, in a different diocese, I saw him and freaked. He should have been dead by now, I thought. I didn’t resurrect him, but after lots of prayer, conversation, and reflection, I did invite him to lunch and told him how I felt. He listened and said, more than once, that he was “so glad” I did this. He paid for lunch.

Still and all, capital-R Resurrection remains a mystery and a hope. It’s a divine action we don’t control. None of our business anyway. Metaphorically, however, easter always looks the same—coming out of darkness into light. 

Here’s an eastering image I love in the marvelous book length parable by Kenneth Grahame called The Wind in the Willows.

“The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home. First the brooms, then with dusters; then on ladders and steps and chairs, with a brush and a pail of whitewash; till he had dust in his throat and eyes, and splashes of whitewash all over his black fur, and an aching back and weary arms. Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing. It was small wonder, then, that he suddenly flung down his brush on the floor, said ‘Bother!’ and ‘O blow!’ and also ‘Hang spring-cleaning!’ and bolted out of the house without even waiting to put on his coat. Something up above was calling him imperiously, and he made for the steep little tunnel which answered in his case to the gavelled carriage-drive owned by animals whose residences are nearer to the sun and air. So he scraped and scratched and scrabbled and scrooged and then he scrooged again and scrabbled and scratched and scraped, working busily with his little paws and muttering to himself, ‘Up we go! Up we go!’ till at last, pop! his snout came out into the sunlight, and he found himself rolling in the warm grass of a great meadow.”


What needs eastering in your life? What ought to die? What be resurrected?—with God’s help, of course because such things need assists, which begin from within or without or both.

May the one holy and living God adorn you with all loveliness, garland each daffodil with a golden halo, infuse each weeny sound with eternality, radiate the cosmos with glory, plant love in all things, make you wise in your bones, and deal out grace all round like a profligate gambler. AMEN.