Wendell Berry’s poem, Manifesto: The Mad Farmer’s Liberation Front, ends with this delightful exhortation: Practice Resurrection.” In Berry’s poem, he contrasts the death-dealing social expectations we are each handed by our culture, and he invites us to do things everyday that ‘doesn’t compute,’ that does not make sense in the system and social order we find ourselves in. By practicing resurrection, we are trying on a new way of being in the world.
What does mean for us to practice resurrection? Sometimes we practice the things we are trying to learn or get better at. Sometimes, we practice the things that are our calling, the way a lawyer practices law, or a doctor practices medicine. Practicing resurrection is both about relearning and living into our calling as beneficiaries of abundant life in Christ.
We have spent two years worrying about a virus. We were vaccinated and did our part to slow the spread of the virus. We also felt manipulated, and cajoled by the system, impinged upon by guidelines and mandates, and restrictive regulations. We have watched children suffer socially and academically. We ourselves have felt anxious and isolated. None of this has felt particularly life giving.
The wisdom of the church calendar is that we need more than one day to practice resurrection. It takes time for us to get it! We celebrated Jesus’ resurrection on Easter Sunday (April 17th this year), but Easter is not over yet! There is more resurrection for us to practice together! The Easter season begins on Easter Sunday and stretches over seven Sundays, culminating on Ascension Sunday (May 29th). This is the longest named season in the church calendar, dedicated to exploring what it means to live in light of Christ’s resurrection
I encourage you to take time to press into this season of resurrection. What are the things that are giving you life right now? How is Jesus empowering you to live a new way? What ways is Jesus calling us to live a life that is different from our culture? We may not be able to answer these questions, but as we practice resurrection, we are free to imagine new possibilities and try them on. And as Romans 8:11 tells us, Christ’s resurrection power is in us, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.”
So, Practice Resurrection!