I have always loved the line “Practice Resurrection” by Wendell Berry. It comes at the conclusion of his poem, “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.” The phrase lands with such imperative gravity.   

The poem itself isn’t about church or theology, per se, not in the traditional sense. It’s about land, agriculture, the cycles of planting and harvesting, and the risks we ought to take in life. 

But Berry identifies these elements in God’s good creation and sees them as signs of divine activity in the world. They are emblems of hope, extensions of God’s mighty work familiar to us throughout the pages of scripture.  

That final line always resonates with me this time of year. We are currently in one of those “in-between” seasons of the liturgical calendar. We are well past Easter’s empty tomb but not quite to Pentecost, with its promise of good news for the people of all nations.

These days, I’m often left wondering, “What now?” According to scripture, the “what now” is precisely what Berry instructs. 

We are to practice resurrection. Our call is to make resurrection touchable and real, with concrete acts of justice and mercy, blessing and grace.

This truth we confess as the bone-deep identity of our lives is not intended to exist as a dusty old theological relic. Easter is not merely a day in history commemorated by our annual celebrations and songs. It is a proclamation to all corners of creation. Christ is risen.

That is the confession we make through the ages. Christ “is” risen. Not “was.”  The present tense of that small verb echoes loudly— and not in our sanctuaries alone.

The reality of that risen-ness must make a difference in the who and where of our days. It is intended to resonate in our very own Galilees…precisely where our risen Lord told his disciples they would find him. Galilee is the place most familiar to us. It’s the place we work and call home, the place we attend class and where we shop for groceries. 

Galilee is where we pay our bills, cut the grass, do the laundry, have the hard conversations, and try to forgive someone when we’ve been hurt and maybe muster up the compassion our brother or sister is starving for. This good truth must matter in Galilee if it is to matter anywhere.  

In order to practice resurrection, we keep our eyes open to the places in our world desperately seeking new life. We keep our ears tuned to the cries of those pleading for restoration and renewal. And we make our hearts receptive to the lives around us longing to be blessed, encouraged, equipped, and able to experience the fullness of resurrected possibility.  

This is not a time of passive praise and acclamations. These are the days of rolled-up sleeves and muddy boots–the days of a love that stubbornly refuses to remain cloistered in neither tombs nor tabernacles. These are the days of practicing what matters most.

Generally speaking, practice is not something most of us love. We don’t pine for its drudgery and repetition. We much prefer the lights and the crowds, the hometown supporters cheering on our performance.

But practice is where the actual work takes place. It is the venue of growth and discipline, of failure and second chances. Practice is where we learn to do what makes a difference in the larger scheme.  

Annie Dillard once wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” The days matter. The moments count. And every minute of practicing resurrection breaks another brick in the wall of the failed systems competing to be crowned in our lives.    

We’re not called to be the kind of people who bide our time showing up on Easter Sunday with bright new clothes and then slipping into lives unchanged by this unprecedented miracle. We are called to be those who speak in a particular way.

And love in a specific way. And give in this tangible kind of way so that our communities are graciously aware that new and everlasting life is the rule for the day.

We practice resurrection.

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