There is nothing new about Easter for me to write, except my own testimony on this day of my life, so here that is:

The Episcopal liturgy taught me a lot through childhood.  Christmas, Easter, Pentecost — these three were anchors for the year.

Christmas speaks of compassion and all the  mystery of living. Incarnation was the work of most of Jesus’ life, I have come to see (and I keep understanding it a little more, in most every day of my own living) — divinity and flesh all a blend:  birth, circumcision and the reception into a tradition;  the mystery of generations (Anna and Simeon), self-discovery within the cradle of institutions; quests and questions, baptized by prophetic John, driven out (by the Spirit, what was that like?) into the fruitful desert, and then back again.  Reconstructing community, finding a voice when John is silenced by the authorities;  conflict, service, teaching, debate, rejection, Gethsemane, and the cross.  God saturates the whole, who knows how, sometimes clear, sometimes hidden, playing peekaboo. Every day is the adverb.

Easter is challenge; always is the adverb, the through-note within the dappled light-dark world.  Freedom, or rather liberation — a burst of gold and white, on the midnight at the end of purple Lent,  after Passion-week, dark Friday and breathless Saturday.  It connected so many threads: the blood of the paschal lamb (belonging and mercy!), the passage where?  Into  everyday wandering in the wilderness of this world;  and in that dailyness the ever, the pearl of great price.  Behold the Lamb of God!  said John, seeing John, John the seer, seeing the Lamb whose victory comes in sacrifice, who “takes its kingdom with entreaty, and not with contention, and keeps it by lowliness of mind.

And ever we are accompanied; the teacher is near, a shepherd lord for sheepish apprentices, while we learn our own lessons of incarnation: the holy body, the holy self, the holy fellowship;  boundaries, regrets, choices and forgiveness, celebration and loss, the truths of work and rest, speech and silence;  the mysteries of the mystical body.

I think we don’t hear so much, in our debased cultural scuffles, of a “war on Easter,” because Easter can seem to mean that the troublesome teacher has been kicked upstairs, become a Superintendent, Rhadamanthus at the gates of passage out of Now (and real) into Then (let’s not think of it, but that’s where the Ideal can be lived, after it won’t interfere with earth-work). Resurrection is made an end-point, after incarnation, after the day’s work is done for good or ill…safe.

But the death Jesus raised people from was mostly soul-death, the sleep of fear or busyness or ease:  “Let the dead bury the dead! You have only to rise up and follow.” And so I do, sometimes, or long to (Help thou my unbelief!), and the open tomb is the open door for anyone to walk through, growing into the first resurrection, as one of those “saints” (clay vessels) in whom He is come again:  ” If I cannot witness Christ nearer than Jerusalem, I shall have no benefit by him.”    Someone who says that (as Nayler did, and I do in my measure) can dare to do so because they know already the taste of resurrection and eternal holy life, now, now, Christ at large in the world. “Yea, he is truly risen.”

And now! is the adverb for Easter’s binary twin star, Pentecost, the feast of red fire and of koinonia, of apostleship and service to the least, of the race to be the last, of pilgrimage funded by the one thing needful.

So Fox:

Dwell in the power of life and wisdom, and dread of the Lord of life, and of heaven and earth…Let all nations hear the sound in word or by writing.  Spare no place, spare no tongue nor pen;  but be obedient…Go through the work and be valiant for the truth upon the earth.. You have the power, do not abuse it.  You have the strength, presence, and wisdom of the Lord Eye it, that with it you may all be ordered to the glory of the Lord God…Keep in the dominion, keep in the power over deceit… The spirit bids, come!

 

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2 thoughts on “Easter 2016

  1. I don’t keep a holy calendar (that isn’t a criticism)
    because the whole story, including Easter,
    seems to have collapsed into my body,
    where I experience “an Easter moment” or passage
    suddenly, at any time, any season. I think
    you say that in your own generous way.
    I come from a completely non-religious household
    so the idea of the sacred calendar outwardly performed each year
    seemed and still seems…bizarre. But you explain nicely how you
    come to have affection for some aspect of it.
    For me, it is All in the body, the whole ecstatic mystical performance
    where Jesus is reincarnated, in each person(as the Christ).
    I like witnessing to the reality of it in our time, our condition.

    I am tempted to make some meta-comments about the blog,
    but then, no, I think it is too early, or never…
    Can you tell I enjoy this?

    Like

    1. Well, yes, I can tell you’re enjoying it. I am glad!
      I am appreciative that I have had the experience of living ritual. When I was a boy, and the parish priest was fervent, I could feel how the words (Ah, the old Book of Common Prayer!) and enactments were tied to the great story of Scripture, but also the story of the seasons, and passage through time, but the recurring events and words and enactments were also timeless. It was shining, it was Adam and maiden, as I was young and easy….It gives me some empathy with (for example) the fervent ones of the Renaissance, or other liturgical people. On the other hand, I also experienced rituals that were inwardly dead, and was in my humble way led off from them…but, as you say in your unchurchy tones, I can also say in my formerly churchy ones — the rhythms, colors, smells, seasons, bells and all — brought it into the body, along with springfallsummerwinter…
      Metacomments are ok, or you can send them by a separate channel if you want to elder the blogger!
      – brian

      Like

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