50 Days of Resurrection

Saturday night I got my Easter Vigil on after church by watching The Jesus Mysteries on the National Geographic Channel. Honestly, it did a better job of explaining Jesus’ mission than most churches I’ve visited. What was great about it (for me) was that it mixed a scholarly approach with the real purpose of the gospel. That being said, their special effects department should be fired. Cheesy as hell, but the rest of it was good.

I’ve been thinking about how as Christians many of us will engage in special spiritual practices during the season of Lent and then after Easter we go back to “normal.” Some of us might keep up some of the practices, some give them up. But what about life after resurrection? Jesus life and particularly his miracles sent the message to the religious establishment that their definition of “unclean” no longer applied. Jesus restored the people who were ritually unclean to full participation in the spiritual community, breaking down the barrier between the Holy of Holies and God’s people. When Jesus died, the temple curtain ripped from top to bottom, eliminating the most literal barrier between God and God’s people. The ultimate in unclean is a dead body, so when Jesus’ own body returned and went to actually be right next to God, he even eliminated the barrier of death. This is what our lives and our churches should be about. Showing the world that everyone has access to God. Resurrection changes everything. So why not live that way?

I propose that in addition to a Lenten practice, we also engage in an Easter practice, for the 50 days between Easter and Pentecost, we engage in practices that show the world that Resurrection matters in every day life. I’m leaving a list here, both adapted from my Lenten practices and some other ideas. I’d love it if anyone else out there has ideas, you’d share them and we can maybe change the world a little in the next 50 days.

Week 1

Sunday: Happy Easter!
Monday: Create a generosity jar
Tuesday:  It’s Earth Day! Do one green thing.
Wednesday: Donate to the charity of your choice
Thursday: Start with gratitude. Grab a pen and write a thank you note to someone. Thank someone who doesn’t usually get thanked: your bus driver, local postal worker, that one guy that always puts a fresh pot of coffee on or empties the dishwasher at the office
Friday: Pray for the families who lost loved ones on the ferry that sunk in Korea
Saturday: Clean out your closet and donate your items to charity

Week 2

Sunday: Pray for the Syrian refugee crisis
Monday: Treat people as equals – assume nothing about their lives, but to show them love and generosity and friendship regardless.
Tuesday: Pick up the phone and reconnect with someone you’ve not spoken to in a while
Wednesday: Connect with a neighbor
Thursday: Donate to the charity of your choice
Friday: Pay for the coffee of the person in line behind you.
Saturday: Make kits to give to homeless people (kits could include: list of local shelters, piece of fruit, clean socks, water bottle, grocery store gift card, etc.)

Week 3

Sunday: Pray for Ukraine
Monday: Make someone smile
Tuesday: Drive the speed limit
Wednesday: Donate to the charity of your choice
Thursday: Forgive someone
Friday: Give flowers to someone for no reason
Saturday: Get out of your comfort zone

Week 4

Sunday: Pray for your least favorite co-worker
Monday: Get passionate about your favorite charity
Tuesday: Unplug for the day
Wednesday: Donate to the charity of your choice
Thursday: Spend time silently listening to God. The amount of time is up to you.
Friday: Find an online petition that resonates with you and sign it
Saturday: Go local

Week 5

Sunday: Pray for our political leaders
Monday:  Donate classroom supplies to a local school
Tuesday: Talk to strangers
Wednesday: Donate to the charity of your choice
Thursday: Bring some extra lunch to work and share with someone
Friday: Take a walk and notice 5 things of beauty that are new to you
Saturday: Practice a form of guerrilla generosity

Week 6

Sunday: Pray for your least favorite family member
Monday: Intentionally wait in the longest line. Notice your reactions.
Tuesday: Practice really listening
Wednesday: Donate to the charity of your choice
Thursday: Leave a random note of encouragement for someone to find
Friday:  Pray for people and situations in today’s news
Saturday: Spend some time volunteering

Week 7

Sunday: Pray for your church community (if you have one)
Monday: Give someone an anonymous gift
Tuesday: Walk around your neighborhood and pray for your neighbors
Wednesday: Donate to the charity of your choice
Thursday: Do someone else’s chore
Friday: Take 5 minutes of silence at noon
Saturday: Worship at a synagogue or mosque

Just So We’re Clear….

Maybe it’s just because I don’t watch Fox News but it seems to me that the same thing that they whine about happening to Christmas has already happened to Easter and I’ve not heard a word about it. Most of the employees in my building asked for today off, citing “religious accommodation” but I’m not entirely sure that’s why they wanted today off.

Over the last few years I’ve seen an increase in store early or complete closures on Easter. It’s a holiday that people travel for. It’s huge in the home decorating market. And candy – duh. Where is all the religious outrage about a religious holiday becoming commercialized? Yes, Spring & Easter holidays have their roots in pagan traditions but SO DOES CHRISTMAS.

My understanding is that for Christians, Easter is as big as or bigger than Christmas. It’s our Super Bowl. Is it that we have such high attendance at our gatherings that we don’t care what happens the rest of the day? SAME WITH CHRISTMAS. Do you see where I’m going with this? I’m unclear as to why such ire is directed at the wishing of “Happy Holidays” and keeping the Christ in Christmas, but nothing is said about the keeping of Christ in Easter. Is it because there’s no alliteration?

When I was a kid, I asked my mom if Easter is about Jesus, then why aren’t there chocolate crosses? If it’s not about the bunnies, then why did they get all the good candy? Her answer was that it would be sacrilegious. Well, here you go, Mom.

 

Mmmm. Most delicious instrument of torture and human suffering EVER!

Just so we’re clear…

We’ve taken the cross of Christ and made it into dessert and everyone is ok with that?

Friday Five: Pre Holy Week

revkarla writes:

Hey there gals and pals,

It’s time for the pre-Holy Week Friday Five!

1.  What is your favorite Easter candy?

Hands down, the Cadbury Creme Egg. There are close seconds, like the Cadbury mini-egg and the Reese’s Egg, but really, there is none other than the Cadbury Creme egg.

2.  Do you have an Easter memory from childhood to share, then please do.  Or any Easter memory.

Unfortunately, I don’ t, and that has gotten me in trouble with my mom. I made the mistake of mentioning to her that I don’t really remember us getting Easter baskets and apparently we always did. That did not go well. My memories are of Easter dresses and some egg hunting and church services being a giant extravaganza.

One other thing just came to my mind. I do remember a huge production at church around Easter in which an actor playing Jesus was pretty realistically crucified. My little brother was probably 4 or 5 and he really freaked out.

3.  Speaking of, what your most favorite day of the past two weeks been?  Why?

This assumes I remember the last two weeks. After jogging my memory with my calendar, the best days of the past two weeks have been about celebrating my niece’s 10th birthday.

4.  I am kind of digging’ Chipotle’s sofritos these days (marinated and “shredded” tofu) and have been eating them like twice a week.  Is there something new in your life that keeps bringing you back for more?  (be ye creative here…)

The new thing coming back over and over for me is running. I have always been the person that says, “Unless I’m being chased, I do not run.” But in the last 3 or so months, I have basically become a runner. A person who runs. I can’t seem to stop and I hate when I can’t. We’re getting into triple digit time here in the desert southwest so this means I’ll have to transition to the treadmill and I’m not sure that’s going to be as good, but I’ll give it a shot.

5.  Of course, a sentence. Using the following words (or some form thereof):  Tree frog, squares, kleenex, eyeglass, lost, daffodil, palms, lamb, Peeps, licorice jelly beans, and donkey.

After losing her eyeglasses, the Lamb chose to stroll with her friend the donkey to the place beyond the palms, where tree frogs play, the daffodils grow in square box gardens and licorice jelly beans and Peeps fall from the sky onto downy piles of Kleenex.

Let us know in the comments that you played so we can enjoy your play!

Friday Five: All Around the Mulberry Bush

3dogmom writes:

It’s been a week of ups and downs at our house. On Tuesday I received word of the birth of my goddaughter’s second daughter, a blessing to that family, and the hope of the first daughter happily fulfilled. That evening I learned that my sister-in-law, a breast cancer survivor, is facing a recurrence of cancer in her lymph nodes, and probably her lungs. Joy and concern pressing in on my heart has made for a week of lots of deep breaths and deep-in-the-marrow prayer, smiles and tears.

At times like this I my soul finds comfort and seeks expression through my senses. Pinterest feeds my visual need for beauty and color (not to mention adorable puppies, and herds of sheep). Cooking fills the house with pleasant aromas, and the results satisfy my palette. My hands find tactile pleasure in massaging my dogs, and music penetrates and reverberates in the fiber of my being.

When you need to hold disparate parts of your life in tension, what do you do? Share five things that steady your pace, recharge your batteries and invite peace to your soul.

1. Television. I’ll be totally honest, sometimes I just need to run from it all and watch the TV. The drama in the lives of fictional characters causes mine to pale in comparison. And I think it’s just smart to ask myself “What would Meredith Grey do?”

2. A nap. When I am tired I am completely useless. Everything seems big and awful and overwhelming. If I can catch some Zs I get some better perspective on what’s going on.

3. Organizing something. If I can clean out a drawer of alphabetize a bookshelf, I feel like I have a bit more of a handle on my life and am prepared to face things that are in tension. At work, when I am crazy overwhelmed, I organize my desk. At home, I nest. This weekend is going to be a big organizing extravaganza. Not that I’m facing much difficulty but it just is time and makes me feel at home.

4. Yoga. Ah the stretchy goodness of yoga. I like to repeat certain verses in certain poses and concentrate on inhaling as breathing in God’s Spirit and exhaling as breathing out anything that’s negative. Helps me clear the cobwebs and get perspective.

5. Music. Sometimes I just need to put on the worship music and sing about Jesus at the top of my lungs. My voice teachers would be so proud.