March 28, 2016
by: Jane Bishop Halteman

Watching a Chopped champion accept his $10,000 award last week, I was excited to hear him say, on being asked how he would use his cash prize, “The first thing that comes to mind is this question:  Who can I offer assistance?  Whose lives can I help change?”

I know nothing about this man except that he is a successful enough chef to have been invited to compete on a Chopped episode during which he outcooked three other chefs on the Food Network show.  His exemplary desire to share his winnings with those who have less, however, speaks to me of resurrection living!

During this season of Eastertide, which thankfully stretches all the way to Pentecost beyond the single day we call Easter, I think back a number of years to the first time I became acquainted with author Megan McKenna on the Spirituality and Practice website. Her book Not Counting Women and Children, Neglected Stories from the Bible describes the practice of resurrection living like this:  “Every time I bring hope into a situation, every time I bring joy that shatters despair, every time I forgive others and give them back dignity and the possibility of a future with me and others in the community, every time I listen to others and affirm them and their life, every time I speak the truth, every time I confront injustice,” I am practicing resurrection living.

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat have posted at their website an excellent page entitled Easter:  Resurrection as Spiritual Practice.   Check the site for the many ways they suggest to practice resurrection living; here is a sampling of their recommendations about living into resurrection.

·         Paying full attention to whatever you are doing helps you recognize the constant renewal of life all around you. 

·         Cultivating the art of making connections dismantles the walls of separation so that new life can spring up out of the rubble.

·         Walking the path of beauty allows you to notice radiance in people, places, and growing things—all signs of rebirth. 

·         Leaving the past to God's mercy and the future to God’s discretion permits you to live in the present moment, the only time when God brings forth new life, as you affirm your belief in resurrection.

·         Working for justice, peace, equality sets the stage for resurrection.  When you feed the hungry and stand up for the oppressed, you are a life-giver.

·         Staying open to all people and situations affirms your believe that all things can be made new.

·         Welcoming large and small changes signals your receptivity to transformation and resurrection.

And here’s another approach to thinking about resurrection living as Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us, “You are just like a firework going off in every moment. The firework diffuses its beauty around itself. With your thoughts, words, and actions you can diffuse your beauty. That beauty and goodness go into your friends, your children, grandchildren, and into the world. It is not lost and you go into the future in that way.”

In the wake of the March 22 Brussels attack and other recent violence, either publicized or unpublicized, I was drawn to a Sojourners post by Eric Barreto, who says this about resurrection living, even in the wake of terror:  “As we grieve Jesus’ unjust death and celebrate his resurrection, as we grieve the unconscionable loss of life and the hope that God promises, may despair and praise together point us to those whom God calls our sisters and brothers, our kin.  In the space between Palm Sunday and Good Friday, between the acclaiming of Jesus as a king and his execution as a threat to the political order, may we discover a resurrection power that overwhelms our instincts to shelter ourselves, our fear of the stranger, our hopelessness in a broken world.”

How do you respond to Barreto’s thought that “resurrection is for today.  Imagine, then, if our reaction to these attacks would not be fear and self-interested protection. Imagine if we didn’t close our borders. Imagine if we didn’t view our Muslim neighbors with suspicion. Imagine if we didn’t give into our basest instincts to build bigger weapons. Imagine if we lived the resurrected life together.”

What experiences from your own faith journey come to mind as you ponder new things God is doing around you?  How have you made resurrection a spiritual practice in daily life?  How have you experienced new ways of seeing and being?  If the idea of living into the resurrection in these ways is new for you, what appeals to you as a practice you might implement this Eastertide?

Going forward, I’d love to hear your resurrection stories so that I might retell them in a future Glimpses of Healing and Hope blog post between now and Pentecost.