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Wendell Berry’s quote, “Practice Resurrection,” has been one of my favorite quotes for years.  It was scribbled on a yellowed piece of paper and stuck to my fridge forever.  His words served as a quiet little reminder that just when I think the end has come I discover that the end is not the end, after all.

When I was working in full time ministry, the number one question people asked me was, “How do I know God’s will for my life?’   Which turned out to be another way of asking, “How can I avoid making mistakes and ruining my life?” And  any old  mistake would do…like moving to the wrong city or even the wrong house or taking the wrong job or most devastating of all…falling in love with the wrong person.   So I worked really hard to figure out how to offer sound, mistake proof advice so everyone would have a happy life and a happy God.  But, that question was a loaded question from the get go because it is absolutely the wrong question to ask.  It’s a question about getting life right or wrong.  It’s a question about doing and not about being.  It’s a question about winning or losing.

Plus wrong questions can’t really have right answers.

I understand the question, though.  Who doesn’t want a guarantee from their all powerful God that no matter what in the world happens to everybody else……..”Me and All My Peeps Will Be Just Fine, Thank You.”

We  love us some signs and wonders.

Some of us miss our whole lives waiting in the wings for that one magical cue that lets us know….’THIS IS IT, YOU’RE ON, YOU’LL BE FABULOUS, HEAR THE APPLAUSE!!”

So…on this week leading us to resurrections I am struck by the simplicity and beauty of Mr. Berry’s words. Practice…..Resurrection.

Practice…not wait for, not pine away for, not even pray for, not postpone, not wait to be perfect for, not deserve, not understand, not dissect, not manipulate, not figure out……..just practice.

Just show up and ride it all  the way home.

Practice.  Don’t wait to get all those spring ducks in a row.  They tend to wander off anyway.

Start now.

Mr. Berry is a one of a kind farmer/ theologian still living on his farm in Kentucky.  He practices resurrection everyday in his fierce love of his land and his fierce belief that others should have their own land, too.

I’m guessing he discovered the will of his life by simply living what and where he loved.  On his land.  And his love for his land brought him so much joy that he never had time or need to ask questions about looking for God or his will or a plan anywhere else.  So, he has lived his chosen will loving, serving, protesting, growing, resurrecting.  And along the way, he became a whole lot of things… a farmer, a husband, an activist, an environmentalist, a writer,  a chef, a theologian,  a protestor, a brilliant poet , even a prisoner. All part of the will he chose and practiced.

Practice is such a simple, kind word.

It’s what we required our kids to do when they were little.

Practice the piano. Practice your spelling words.  Practice soccer.  Practice being kind to your sister.

Practice…experience the good stuff so you can be the real stuff down the line.

And kids learn early on that if they like – even a little bit – what they are asked to practice…the very act of practicing does something kinda magical inside of them…it brings them joy…..and that practice of practicing forms a kind of powerful rhythm in their young lives.

And for some..that simple practice of practicing something they love…. informs who they are and the very will of their lives.

They can’t imagine living a day without their practice.

But sometimes…we kids grow up and we no longer practice much of anything.

Oh, we work hard. But we don’t have a practice.  We don’t have an informed rhythm.

That part of us has sorta…died.

And on some days…we whisper that something precious is missing…

Without our practice of something we love…we have sorta lost our way.

And…truth is…it has absolutely nothing to do with those billboard decisions…where we live, who we love, what we do to earn money….not really…not deep down honest really.

Wayward pilgrims we have become.

So, on this weekend of resurrections.   I’d like to give this practice a shot.

I’d like to resurrect that little twelve year old girl who giggled her way through early drama classes, learning the lines to The Wizard of Oz. I’d like to raise up that kid  and let her sit once again at the piano, practicing scales. I’d like to practice taking her out for her daily walk through her woods.

I’d  like to practice resurrecting her before I even know for sure if  she could be resurrected.

The sheer practice of hanging out with her again would be resurrection enough for me.

She brings me such joy.

If you feel a bit like a weary, wayward pilgrim and have let the grown up world pull you away from your best practices……read these honest words from Martha Beck…

“Don’t worry about losing your way.  If you do, pain will remind you to find your path again. JOY will let you know when are back on it.”

Pain is such a powerful healer.  It screams at us that something has gone wrong.  Something is broken and needs our attention.  And  then when we least expect it, joy  shows up.

Joy is the sign and wonder.  Joy is the  will of God.  Joy is the healer of the past, the power of the present, and the promise of the future…For everyone.  But, we have to stop looking for answers to the wrong questions.

Joy is our resurrection.

Practice….practice….practice…… resurrection.  Just start.  Go outside.  Look up at the sky. Remember  your joy.

Practice it…go practice it again.

Don’t stop.

Easter is coming….


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