This column, Barefoot & Preaching, is also published biweekly in print by The Prairie Messenger.

The impossible work of resurrection: I don’t know how to rise…

The impossible work of resurrection: I don’t know how to rise…

Easter has arrived and we have celebrated the resurrection. I have small bits of foil all over my house as evidence. The stone has been rolled away and Jesus is not there. The empty cross proclaims the good news and ushers me into a fifty-day season for practicing resurrection. And I’m staring at the pile of candy wrappings realizing that I do not know how to rise.

It isn’t as if I am particularly good at Lenten discipline, but at least I know what I ought to do and how frequently I fail. That is easy enough to confess. But over this last holy week, God met me and repeatedly asked me to let him do the heavy lifting. Let me wash your feet. Give me the cross you’re carrying. Allow me to kiss your wounds. Let me wrap you and bless you. And let me roll away the stones. I do not know how to let Him because I cling to the suffering and the dying.

I keep dropping the sadness I am trying to carry, and then tripping in it and falling. I’m making back-up plans for the back-up plans, just in case. I know that nagging my kids isn’t working, but I am afraid that the silence will leave their shoes and backpacks on the floor for all of eternity. I am exhausted, but what if, in my absence, someone discovers my irrelevance?

In reading and remembering the resurrection stories this week, mostly in desperation, I discover that I am in good company. It turns out that many early disciples had trouble with resurrection.

Like Mary and the disciples on the road to Emmaus, I do not recognize the risen Jesus. My eyes have been so imprinted with the destruction that I cannot see what is new. I know that the pain will have some meaning when it is over, but I cling to it in the present because I am afraid of having nothing instead. Because the story is not over yet, I do not know how to talk about what is happening. Until Jesus rises.

Like Thomas, I refuse to believe. Even though Jesus has carried me before, I am afraid the He won’t be able to lift me again. I am heavier than last time. The mess is less manageable. What if I hope and He does not show up when I think He will or should? It would be easier not to hope at all than deal with my disappointment. I do not know how to wait long enough. It hurts too much. Until Jesus rises.

Like Peter, I’m so stunned by the risen Jesus that I put my clothes (back) on to jump into the sea. I am ashamed about what I have done and what I have failed to do. Part of me does not even want the resurrection to be real, so that I can at least have the self-righteous satisfaction of being right about my unbelief. I have only my old practices to makes sense of a new reality, so I do ridiculous things. Until Jesus rises.

He rises. And He shows up to teach them, to open their eyes, to let them touch him. He makes breakfast and gives them the chance to say again how much they love Him after they have failed Him.

Maybe I am not supposed to know how to rise because it is Jesus’ work. Could it be that I need to stop doing and let Him work resurrection in and around me? The dividing line between the crucifixion and the resurrection is a tiny sliver of passing over the burdens. Maybe this effort it takes to let Jesus work in me is how His burden is lighter than carrying it myself? Maybe this is the work of the resurrection that stretches me over fifty days and a lifetime?

I am blind and doubtful. Ashamed and afraid of being the kind of ridiculous I already am, I don’t know how to rise. Come, Jesus, and find me here. Open my eyes and let me feel your touch. Ask me again if I love you, and help me to tell you that I do. Work your resurrection in me, and let me rise, again. Amen.

What if there is a time for complaining?

Over the last couple of weeks, I have had several interesting conversations about complaining. One friend gave up complaining for Lent. (It is not going very well, in her opinion.)  Someone else was telling me about how hard they are finding things at the moment and...

Wading into silence when there are no words

I have been wading barefoot into silence for the last several weeks, not having adequate words for the weight of things. Just days after writing about carrying each other, our world crashed into silence with the delivery of our baby at just ten weeks. We held her tiny...

Grace enough for today – and for me

(Photo Credit: Andrea Carol) One of the greatest gifts of living in a cold prairie climate is that it gets cold enough for hoarfrost.  It is the frozen form of dew, an icy proof of the movement of moisture even on such cold mornings.  Breathtakingly beautiful, I would...

A people wandering still

Photo Credit: Katherine Seibert I wandered out into the darkness the other night, wrapped in a thick fog.  I could see about three car lengths in front of me on the asphalt, and then a wall of white, reflecting my headlights back at me.  The brightness designed to...

Making space for the pain of healing

       Photo Credit: Katherine Siebert Healing has been on my mind with almost every step for the last month.  I broke the second toe on my left foot while water sliding with my kids. The slide was faster than I expected, and rounding the last corner, I was...

On Being Barefoot…

Before the burning bush, God asks Moses to take off his sandals, to notice and reverence that he walks on holy land. This holy land continues to burn before me, before us, signaling God’s presence before we arrived rather than because we did. This life we are living was holy before we existed in it. This land and creation we call home is the first book of revelation, God’s love letter to us, bearing witness to the Creator of it all.Our lives and the moments that make them up are the stuff of sainthood, our invitations to participate in Divine life to be swallowed up and fulfilled by God. At the grocery store, in the false solitude of our cars and commutes, in our laundry rooms, and over text messages. My shoes run the risk of “protecting” me from the sacredness of this naked moment. And how I love shoes, and how my sensitive toes resist the prickles of grass and the mess of sand. But barefoot is how my spirituality works, daring to live an embodied and earthy love of Jesus who took on flesh. I’m wandering through this life, yearning to let go of my shoes, to walk reverently and with deep attention to what passes under my feet and to what isn’t yet my path. Barefoot is how I write, how I speak, how I work. Experience shored up against an insatiable thirst for knowledge; direct honesty honed by sensitivity; and vulnerability chained to a commitment to competency. And an unapologetically barefoot tendency to speak it as I feel it, which leads me to…

…and Preaching

I’m a preacher without a pulpit, with words that burn until they are spoken ~ aloud or on a page.

My ministry is one of colliding words and ideas, reaching out to find a connection with God’s amazing people.

The world seems to me to be spilling over with grace and we seem to be people who, all too quickly forget that all of this is pure gift.

When I’m driving, eating, visiting, resting, cleaning, working, playing, and almost everything else, I’m frequently stunned by the pure miracle of what simply is.

It’s not all promised joy and ease, but it is all presenced and remembered by the One who gives it. And I can’t stop talking about it, proclaiming it, preaching this good news that we have not been forgotten or forsaken in any moment of this life.

For reasons I don’t quite understand, my words seem to be given to encourage and inspire. In a world where women and girls are still too-often silenced or secondary, I’m barefoot and preaching because my soul won’t rest any other way. If my words can be a gift to you, then that is a gift for me.

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