Practicing Resurrection During Holy Week

Practicing Resurrection During Holy Week

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by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter April 12, 2019

On Palm Sunday we will all gather in front of the sanctuary with palms in our palms and proclaim "Hosanna." We will pray at Evensong on Wednesday and mourn on Good Friday at the Tenebrae service. At sunrise, on Easter morning the Church proclaims, “He is Risen; He is risen, indeed!” Not every one of these proclamations will be easy to proffer at the moment. Aside from these proclamations, we will also offer heartfelt confessions that reveal the ways we revel and revile these words with our actions that prove otherwise.

Disciples of Jesus in every age look around at their world and its brokenness and frailties and wonder about just what kind of life, does this call and response of Jesus’ resurrection initiate? Our confessions during Holy Week affirm a sense of eternal security in the life to come, and also a present state which we inhabit and embody, here and now. Can we really make every week a Holy Week?

Wendell Berry’s 1973 poem, “Mad Farmer Liberation Front.” Berry’s lengthy work imagines the ends of a logical American life: “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…..Not even your future will be a mystery anymore.” Turns quickly to the illogic of love and the mysterious life to which we are called: “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…Ask questions that have no answers. Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias… Practice resurrection.” That last line, “practice resurrection” provides both comfort and challenge for those of us who seek to follow the risen Christ.

Children see the world in this way. As true visionaries, they look at the world and expect it to be filled with mystery and not merely the mundane. Try something this year. Watch the way our children search for easter eggs. Wait until you see that look on their face as they search for a mystery hidden in plain sight. I believe that same sense of wonder may provide a lesson for us visually challenged adults.

Could it be that the habit of searching for Easter Eggs could provide a corrective lens for our lack of vision? Even the term, “Easter Eggs” has become a common idiom for a meaningful symbol hidden in place site. It describes a set of secret features, messages, references in movies, tv shows, advertising and pop-culture that proved additional meaning for those with what Jesus called, “eyes to see and ears to hear.” Faithful fans find and celebrate these markers of meaning. They have trained their eyes to look beyond the story and to find these hidden gifts in the setting. Isn’t that it!

Practicing resurrection begins when we look for Christ’s living presence with the same expectation of curious children and faithful fans. If we practice looking for the presence of the risen Christ hidden in plain sight… If we train your eyes to see and take the time to look, we may find resurrection, here and now.

Lenten Muse

Lenten Muse

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter April 6, 2019

Contrasts abound during the Lenten season: light and dark, virtue and vice, sacred and profane, and not the least being the beauty and brokenness found in every individual.

Grateful for Cherry Blossoms and Organ Music

Grateful for Cherry Blossoms and Organ Music

by Cass DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter March 28, 2019

As we approach the middle of Lent, with its somber dark tones, we are ironically bombarded by the colors and beauty of spring.

This week, I have been grateful for the beauty of the cherry blossom trees and the sights of the Cherry Blossom Festival. I live near Fickling Farm on Rivoli Dr. and I get to drive by their beautiful cherry blossom trees every day. I have enjoyed watching the trees bloom into their beautiful white and pink. I’ve also enjoyed seeing everyone dress in pink as we welcome the festival and the season of spring.

Sinning like A Christian

Sinning like A Christian

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter March 21, 2019

Our Lenten muse for the past few weeks has been Will Willimon’s “Sinning Like A Christian.” Willimon examines the 7 Deadly Sins of pride, envy, anger, sloth, greed, gluttony, and lust. Our conversation around the Family Night tables has been both comic and meaningful.

Head Full of Doubt Road Full of Promise

Head Full of Doubt Road Full of Promise

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter March 14, 2019

Even before our recent work in music and theology, I have always gravitated toward a song, or a soundtrack, or a symbol for the Lenten season each year. Not a church symbol, mind you, but an image out there in the world that captures the sensibility of Lent in some way. I look for things that embody a particular worship season. It is my art piece project that mirrors what happens to our communion table. All the more so recently I have been curating music that helps me experience worship throughout the week. In other words, I make mixtapes for Jesus. Whatever the medium, it is the kindling of our spiritual imagination in seasons like this that remains imperative.

You have something on your head.

You have something on your head.

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter March 7, 2019

I still have ashes on my forehead from Wednesday. I find myself washing my face carefully to keep them there a little longer. Our service of imposing ashes remains one of the most emotional for me, as your pastor. Leaning forward and offering a blessing, one that names both death and real life, is meaningful and weighty. For some, it is always their first time to receive ashes, and for others, it will be among their last and they, and I, know it. This moment provides the space for both idealism and realism both, the space to see and to see what could be.

Loving Lent

Loving Lent

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter February 28, 2019

If I am confessing, the truth is I love the Lenten season. These weeks leading up to Easter prepare us to celebrate the resurrection through introspection, confession, repentance, and redemption. If the season after Epiphany calls us to look for the light, then the Lenten season encourages honesty about the darkness that we see in ourselves and in the world. Lent begins with confession, after which we stagger forward toward redemption.

A Winding Walk & A Ponderous Path

A Winding Walk & A Ponderous Path

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter February 21, 2019

The season after Epiphany invited us to see the world with adventurous and amateur eyes, both. During these weeks we have been spiritually challenged by the biblical stories to experience the ordinary world in a new way. Wise Men taught us to look for stars, signs, and symbols to guide our journey. Jesus modeled what happens we cast our life in line with everybody else and wander into the wilderness to find our way. These texts have encouraged us to follow Jesus through the ordinariness of our lives toward something new.