Posts Tagged ‘Resurrection’

Friends, I discovered this poem this morning by one of my favorite poets.  It declares hope in the midst of the powers of this world. On this Good Friday, as we inch nearer to the hope of the resurrection, may this be a reminder of the power of death that has wrecked this world and the small ways in which we can produce change.

“Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front”
by Wendell Berry

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

“Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” from The Country of Marriage, copyright ® 1973 by Wendell Berry, reprinted by permission of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.

Doubt.

There are few states of mind that can be so paradoxically peaceful as doubt.  It denies faith, while at the same time fulfills it.  It loosens grip of the familiar, while being the most familiar state of mind to humanity.  It forsakes hope and empowers it all at once.

Doubt is also one of the loneliest places to be in.  Whether you’re doubting you did so well on a test, doubting that relationship is going to work out, or doubting that God exists… it’s a terribly lonely place to be.

I often think of God as being far from doubt.  God is the creator of all emotions, so he has experienced them all, except I suppose doubt, for how can God doubt Himself?  Or how could God really doubt anything, since He knows all?  And if God cannot doubt, then doubt is an unfamiliar emotion to God.  And if we find ourselves in a state of mind unfamiliar to God, then we assume it must be opposed to God or at least unvirtuous.  So we cower from doubt, even when we feel it.  We avoid and deny it, even though it is pressing and caving in on us.

So how do we address doubt?  Is the simple response to say, “Stop doubting,” effective?  Surely not.  That’s like telling someone to not think of the color red.  The first thing they instantly do is think of the color red.  No amount of positive thinking can overcome such doubt.  The question, then, is: should we look to overcome doubt?

The first fallacy we must address in this line of thinking is that there is no doubt in God.  When Jesus, the Christ, was crucified nearly 2000 years ago, he hung on a cross and echoed a phrase written by King David in a place of very real doubt.  As David was in a point of dispair, he wrote these words in Psalm 22, crying out to God, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  Jesus says these exact words before he breathes his last on Golgotha.  Have you ever grasped the irony of these words?  Jesus (aka God) is questioning the reality and goodness of God (himself).  Jesus doubts in God and thus doubts in himself.  It is of this moment in history that GK Chesterton refers to God as an atheist.  God denies God.  This is incredibly relevent for us in a multitude of ways.

First of all, this means that we are never alone in our doubt.  Not only do others suffer from doubt, but Christ himself suffered from doubt in the midst of severe pain and trial.  Jesus became Emmanuel (“God with us”) in every way possible, even in our doubt. And if Jesus went through moments of doubt, then doubt cannot be considered sinful or even dangerous.  It could be argued as healthy… or even holy.  There is no fear in questioning or not understanding that which is infinite and beyond our understanding.  Wrestle with the text; wrestle with God and come out clueless.

It’s ok.  I only pray that just like in Christ, doubt becomes a precursor to our resurrection.

 

But the story hasn’t ended

Because the covenant’s amended
By a God who has transcended
And defended the morally expended

You see, cuz we couldn’t hold up
Our end of the deal
But our God of grace could not repeal
All the promises he signed and sealed
So he revealed himself
In the form of a baby
And this is the part that gets kinda crazy

Cuz there could be nothing stranger
Than a God in a manger
Born to a virgin endangered
By a commitment that changed her
Life… and the world forever

He was born as a savior
And a grace engraver
In God’s great favor
Calling all to love their God
And their neighbor

And the prophets proclaimed him
And the Scriptures explained him
As a God who’d be reigning
But the Pharisees defamed him
Cuz they couldn’t contain him
As he stepped up to a pulpit exclaiming
Today is the day of Jubilee
All the blind receive sight and the oppressed are free

He calls the children to come
He makes the crippled to run
He washes the leper clean
And lets the blind man see
He can heal a woman when she bleeds
With just the touch of his cloak
And he could heal the soul
Each time he spoke

Because he spoke with love

A love that dignified the dirty
And healed the hurting
And sat with the sinners
And the spiritual beginners

It was a love that was hated
Cuz it couldn’t be debated
When it was actually actuated
Cuz it created
A system where all were equated

When this man called the Christ
Lived a sinless life
But he was born to die
And was crucified

And with each step up that hill, the crowd was confounded
And with each nail, that was my hand bounding
And with each last breath, forgiveness resounded
Until his heart stopped pounding

The darkest moment the world has ever known
When we had reaped all we had sown
And all creation moaned and groaned

But we were now atoned
Sold, bought, and owned

And in three days he would rise from the grave
And the angels proclaimed he’d gone out of the cave
Resurrection was realized and the people were saved
And the penalty of sin was waived
A new covenant where God forgave
And Jesus Christ paved the way

For  He has always been the one
Who was, and is, and is to come

The following is straight out of my journal from this morning. I just really felt that I should share this with you all. This is kind of hard for me because I don’t normally share with people whenever I fast, but I feel like God was leading me to tell you about this experience, so forgive me for sharing that. Ok, that’s my disclaimer… here’s my entry:

“On Good Friday, my school had a Tenenbraum service at St. Anne’s Church (a beautiful church with a 7 second echo which commemorates the place where the Virgin Mary grew up). We read through all the verses leading up to Christ’s death and left in silence. It was incredibly powerful. What struck me most was that afterwards, we just left. We walked out of that church and life continued. The Savior of the world just passed away, the darkest hour in humanity, and life just went on. Shopkeepers were open and selling, people were driving, life continued to be. It made no sense to me. Shouldn’t everything stand still? Shouldn’t we expect some sort of hushed silence? I feel like there should be a pause button were we step outside of time. This was a huge moment, shouldn’t it be more… momentous? I felt like I was in some sports movie where the clock was running out. Just then, everything slows down, and I wait. I watch as the shot is put up or the football is thrown down the field into the end zone. There is anticipation. So I spent yesterday, (Saturday) in anticipation fasting. Neither food nor drink could touch my mouth until my Savior was risen. I waited in anticipation for the Resurrection. I was anxious, nervous, hoping. Then Easter Sunday came. The shot went in the basket, the football was caught. We won the game! Death was defeated! Let’s charge the field rejoicing and hoisting our Savior high. He is risen! Hallelujah! This is the joy of Easter. The ultimate victory.

So right now, I’m celebrating this ultimate victory at a church service at the site of the Garden Tomb. It’s a beautiful dawn. Even birds are chirping Resurrection songs. What a glorious day. Lord, you are risen indeed. Amen.”

Have a happy and blessed Easter everyone. I miss and love you all. Thank you for your comments, prayers, and support. It is encouraging.

SHALOM