Some days we open our eyes
Some days we open our eyes
Even the tinniest of birds
in the most remote of places
on the earliest of mornings
in a distant land
with their unfamiliar chirping
at our best, when we allow ourselves to be reminded
that the world is enormous
and is still in its adolescence
as are we
as are we
It’s not even that we are being foolish to assume that one of two options is all we have to hope for, or if we’re lucky, all we have to choose from. We can feel the tension building as the story climbs to the cross, and if we didn’t know better, which of course we do know better, we would be hoping that they would change their minds and let him down. Or at least he would finally decide to call some winged agents in to take him down so he could find his place of importance on the throne.
We think it is only that, now, or death.
And death is final.
So we can’t blame the ladies for waking up the next day and taking the spices and oils they had worked on the night before as their tears feel into the mix. There were two ways, death or something spectacular there on the cross, and death is the way that won. So they head there prepared to prepare his body.
And that’s when we all learned for the first time, of many times by now, that there are more than two ways of being and moving forward in this world.
That empty gravesite sits for us now as a reminder of our calling to follow Christ into the kingdom of the third way, the kingdom of impossibility, the kingdom of breathing new life into dying things, the kingdom of defeating death, the kingdom of upside-down conclusions to right-side-up stories.
With the poor.
With the lonely.
With the addicted.
With the greedy.
With the grieving.
With the marginalized.
With the marginalizers.
With the hopeless.
With those of us who have resigned to the fact that all is lost, so we prepare to bury our hopes and dreams for a new life and a new kind of world.
Welcome, today, in light of the resurrection, to the kingdom of upside-down conclusions to the stories we find ourselves in.
Pine Tree Dr.
Through this day we have named your name in gladness, we have pondered the world you have called “good,” we have relished your gift and your task, and we have marveled in amazement, yet one more time, at the wonder of this Easter Jesus, who has died and is alive among us.
Now we are homeward; And when we arrive there, it will be as it was this morning, with anxiety and demand and conflict and inconvenience. Except that all things will be–yet again–made new. Make new by your spirit; make new the church where we live; make new the public reality of justice among us; make new the practice of compassion in our neighborhood; make new the surge of peace in our violent world; make new the policies of our government and the workings of the church.
Make new, and we will be in Easter joy unafraid and unweary, your glad people, carrying among us the marks of the death and the new life of Jesus in whose name we pray.
+ W. Brueggeman, “Habitat of Newness and Goodness”
from Prayers for a Privileged People
I woke up this morning to an email thrown through time-zones from a friend. Its contents immediately made my insides go from quite calm to full-on knots.
Then I put my feet on the floor and got out of bed.
I learned long ago that first thing in the morning is a time when my brain not only doesn’t process well, but it processes into worst possible scenarios. About three years ago, I stopped listening to my thoughts until post-morning shower and first cup of coffee. I forgot the discipline this morning.
Sure enough, after that shower and cup of coffee, the clouds began to part a bit, and the proverbial rainbow was an actual thing arching all the way over Table Mountain on the drive in.
And then in prayer time at The Warehouse, there was this sense for me of the great power that God has to shine on us and beyond us, making our shadows stretch larger, broader, and longer than we think of ourselves being. When standing in his light, we become aware of our strength. In our awareness of what his light does to us, on us, beyond us––we are rightly filled with courage.
In the morning, may we lean into the light with strength and courage.
… When I awoke, I found you still to be God, presiding over the day and the night with serene sovereignty, for dark and light are both alike to you.
At the break of day we submit to you our best dreams and our worst nightmares, asking that your healing mercy should override threats, that your goodness will make our nightmares less toxic and our dreams more real.
Thank you for visiting us with newness that overrides what is old and deathly among us. Come among us this day; dream us toward health and peace, we pray in the real name of Jesus who exposes our fantasies.
+ from Brueggeman’s “Dreams and Nightmares” in Prayers for a Privileged People