resurrection

What Happened in the Township & "Easter Uproot"

(Two of the leaders who made this conference happen. Amazing women!)

(Two of the leaders who made this conference happen. Amazing women!)

Happy Holy Week, dear friends. Forgive my silence. This last week in South Africa has been run-around crazy, and in the midst of it sickness and fatigue. But I owe you something. You prayed for me, for that errant train stuck in the desert, and for the conference in the township. And you need to know what happened!  

(But apologies first. I have only two photos of the event, these taken after the conference. It felt rude to go around taking photos. I simply needed to be fully present.)

Khayalitsha--me and uram.JPG

But here’s part of what happened. This 40-hour-train-trip woman with little sleep for three days went to the Township outside of Cape Town. And went filled with energy and excitement as if she had slept all week. (Supernatural strength given!)

But------would anyone come to this first-time event? It’s scary to go to a township of a million, where many good people live, but where there is violence as well. Some township dwellers do not welcome "settlers"--and who would after the evils of apartheid? There is a deep sad history here.

But they went. Women from the city came who had never been in the township before. Women from the township came to meet them. We sat around circular tables together. We prayed together. We sang praise songs in English and in Xhosa, the tribal language, our voices blending perfectly. We ate lunch together, women in beautiful head wraps and women in flowing dresses. We talked together about the deepest things in our lives as  women and mothers.

In the midst of my two hour presentations on parenting, I asked them to share with one another four different times.

 “What were your expectations of motherhood before you had children?” 

“What do you feel most guilty about as a mother?”

“What are your hopes and dreams for your children?”

 “What can we do to be faithful mothers?”  

These were the most glorious moments, as women of all colors, ages, languages and history opened their hearts to one another. Women who had been separated by apartheid, literally fenced off from one another for generations. In those long beautiful moments, with heads bent toward one another as stories and burdens poured out, the sanctuary was a picture of the reality of resurrection.   What man worked so hard to maim, fracture and divide, God is joining together. 

multiracial worship.jpg
worship---mulitracial.jpg

This is why Christ died and rose again: to unite his many people around the world into one people, who sing His praises in many tongues, but in one glorious song.

God has so much work in my own life still to do .... but your prayers helped make this happen this day. (And there is yet more to be shared another day.)  Please KNOW I am on-the-floor grateful for your partnership in the gospel this way.                       

And---one more thing?  

For this Holy Week, may I share one more time the Easter poem written last year? That Christ was not buried, He was planted . .. 

 

beautiful tree--easter uproot.jpg
easter uproot.png
beautiful red tree.jpg

Lord, help us to live and move and root our being in your resurrection power every blessed day of life that you give us!

After Easter: What About the Hangover?

How did you wake up the day after Resurrection Sunday? S

o  much joy spent in furious singing and chanting, "Up From the Grave He Arose!" and  "Where O Death is your sting? Where, O Death, is your victory?" . .  .   And a breakfast buffet at church, all sugar and cream, then dinner and a company of Beautiful Others at the table, and

 too much ham, too much salt and too many desserts . . . and a late late night. Yes, Jesus is alive, Praise God! but Monday morning I'm hung over. Exhausted. And sad. There are sorrows that cannot be named  still . .. and

His

tomb is empty but mine----my tomb? Maybe yours? Still sealed. With a body in it. Not risen. 

Doesn't this happen every year, this whiplash between the grief of Good Friday and the giddy gladness of Easter----and then one more neck-breaking twist we never talk about: the morning after? The hangover after all the hullabaloo? When your fridge is full of leftovers (yes, Praise for this too!), but real hobbled life has returned--with extra force for its temporary absence?   

I found an answer to this today, on Earth Day,as simple as a walk. Come with me for a moment? I promise not to prettify or falsify . …

 I walk heavy-hearted into the ugliness of what winter has left behind---a grey day, so many days of rain, my muddy pot-holed road, 

I cross the freshet which looks more like the sewage-et this time of year (it's not) . . .

Past places of danger . ..

isolation . . .

and onto death---the lake where a much-loved boy drowned last summer . …

But among and around all of this-----is something else: the rainforest. This is rainforest country, here, this eastern side of Kodiak Island.

It's always green in here---and not an ordinary green. The green of Life itself. It comes from too much rain, and not enough sun. Even in the winter, when blizzards sweep it white, underneath, the green remains. 

Even the trees that snap off in hurricane winds sustain luscious green life. 

Nothing that lives or dies escapes the entwining moss  . ..  which covers all. 

Martin Luther wrote, “Our Lord has written the promise of the resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.”  

It is not springtime yet here, but a rainforest is always alive. 

Forgive this most simple allegory, and this simple hungry heart--- but I found him here today. In this rainforest. Christ. He has so encompassed us, so draped and hung  himself upon us, beneath us, over us, around us, that we who are dead are brought to life again, and we who are living are yet more alive. 

One more resurrection. I needed it this day. Watch for it. Every day will bring a reason to die, and the reason you do not: because He lives, still. In you, on you, around you, under you. Today I see how He is hung upon me like a scarf, like moss, like  the green growing force that He is, He who will never stop clinging to me and to you. He who makes even the hollow places, the graves we carry within us, 

once again,

alive.   

And tomorrow, we will know His resurrection life again, another way. This time----how?  Will you tell me what you find??

Kodiak Snowfall, SKYFALL+ the "Hobby of Resurrection"









Beauty!  A lovely snowfall this week. Snow-attack would be closer, though, since a 40+ mph wind was behind it.  The sea smashed and raged below my house, the cliff-facing windows were smothered in white.  I was happy. I’ve been off-island, strangely missing the dark and temper of this season.  My son, in California, is wistful for blizzards and violent skies. I understand. Once you live under such drama, even the sunny places our bodies crave bore us after awhile. 
















While “Outside,” I got to see the new James Bond movie, Skyfall.  I’m not a huge 007 fan, for so many reasons, but I have watched most of the recent ones, and even a few of the older ones, which I immediately regretted. I seldom finished them.  







The Bond franchise with its string of oily tuxedo-ed martini-ed protagonists, wanton beddings and shootings; its portraits of women-as-bikini-clad know-and-do-nothings, fully deserved to die out. 














But, the franchise rises again, decidedly smarter and better. This one may be the best of the bunch. One of my favorite moments in the movie is this brief exchange:




(Bond: “Everyone needs a hobby."

Smarmy Enemy: "What’s yours?

Bond: "Resurrection")


And so it is. Bond is shot from atop a moving train, falls hundreds of feet from the sky into a waterfall.  He survives, but we’ve no idea how. We know surviving three falls---a bullet, a skyfall and a waterfall is impossible, which is why he utters the word “resurrection.”  He once was dead, and he lives again.  He is weakened, wounded, his body not what it once was. He still bears the scar of a bullet in his shoulder. But he has lives to save, and one particular evil life to end. As long as his heart beats, he cannot keep from his mission.







              I just found out this week that snow is alive. That its nucleus is often a living microbe around which the snowflake is formed. When researchers took snow samples from 19 locations around the world, they discovered that as much as 85% of the nucleus of snow in the warmer temperatures is living bacteria. 





The snowflake, each one, though frozen into immobility, yet is alive.     





                                 

              My life is full of resurrections. This week alone,  I was gone, and now I am home. I am sick now, almost immobilized, but I will soon be well.  My husband and I are married 35 years now---the cycles of dying and reviving beyond counting.  The snow falls and we hibernate in the dark, knowing  the long lit days will return.  I glimpse my own selfish heart, and die with a thousand lashings---and I remember forgiveness and get up again. A friend cannot smile or walk, and a visit makes her laugh.  


 How do we rise up? The snowflake is intricately structured around a living speck, invisible to the eye. And us. We too are built around a life invisible to the eye, but more fully alive than anything we can see.  Because of that life, and because of that first rising-from-death, resurrection becomes our habit.  Even in the most inhospitable places, places where we stumble and fall---blizzards, sickness, selfishness, pain---life remains. 


It is God’s hobby to bring life out of death, and if we ask for it, he can do the same for us. His hobby will become the pattern of our lives.   











May I pray for you this week, that you would rise up with new life? I would be honored to lift your name to the God of Hope and Life.