Time Swimmers

Time lost. I sent out a Tiny Letter (my bimonthly newsletter) this week exploring the notion that Easter was about more than simple resurrection. Easter was about more than empty tombs and manic disciples searching for a body. Easter is a more eternal declaration. It's the declaration that time is a failure, that it bends to something more eternal. And if time is a failure, there is no such thing as a dead end.

These are the things I believe most. And yet, there's still a harsh human reality: We swim in the experience of time. And so, how can we not mourn the little deaths time brings? The end of summer vacation. The days your children leave the nest. The moment you say goodbye to your parents. The moment you kiss your spouse for the last time. These are reminders of time's cruelty, thin though it may be.

This week, I've been thinking more and more about time. I've been wondering how I might live if I believed it were running out. I've pondered how I might be more present to my wife, my kids, and my friends. How would I pray? Would I look for signs of resurrection in the world around me? Would I try to create some of my own works of resurrection?

I don't have all the answers to these questions, but I'm working a few out. I hope you will too, because on this planet--the spinning minute hand of our solar system's clock--time is our precious reality, our waning commodity. How will you use it?

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To The Women Who Know Their Place

[tweetherder text="A woman should know her proper place."]A woman should know her proper place[/tweetherder]--a statement for which I will make no apology. On Easter, the proper-placed woman sat in her whitest white, ladylike, hands folded, hem near the floor. Unadorned, Corinthian-quiet, unassuming, it could be said that she was born straight from the pages of Scripture. He eyes attuned to the men--reading Scripture, leading prayers, leading congregation in Psalmic recitation. She stood on cue, sat when sitting was ordained by the prayer book.

When the time came for the Easter homily, she crossed herself and took small steps to her proper place. "May the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart be acceptable," she said, then shared her darkest days, her pain, her rescue by the risen Lord. She was Mary Magdalene, first and best witness of the resurrection. Mother-tears in her eyes, rose-cheeked and smiling, she invited me to the empty tomb, allowed me to believe in the magic of resurrections, even after all these magicless years.

"The peace of the Lord," she offered, then moved to the baptismal font, to the waters of new birth. Under the flicker of the Paschal light, she pushed babes through the waters of new life, nursed them into the divine family. Quiet, quiet, quiet--all things pointed to life; no things pointed to femininity, or masculinity, or the ceaseless works of the striving strongmen. Even to tell this now feels holy, still hushed. Even to remember her reminding us--the disciples--that she'd seen the Risen Lord brings a spark of hope. This was the first Easter sermon I've ever believed, the first embodiment of resurrection, best celebration of new birth.

A woman should know her proper place--a statement for which I will make no apology. And to the woman whose proper place was the Easter Sunday pulpit, allow me to extend this small sentiment: thanks.

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The Death of Death

"The Christian Story of the death and Resurrection of Jesus.... Here is theGod who saves us from the arrogance of worshipping ourselves, and, by having shared in our humanity, makes us glorious at the same time." ~Joan Chittister, The Liturgical Year

My grandfather used to call me every Easter morning, used to boom through the telephone receiver, "He has risen!"  It was his favorite holiday, the one adorned with khaki suits, bucks, ladies' hats, and the purple sash of eternal royalty.  More than that, it was a celebration of life.

I eulogized my grandfather two years ago.  As I finished the last of the official words that would be spoken of his life, I put fist to the podium, and with tears in my eye I pounded, "oh death, where is your sting?"

Tomorrow grandpa will rejoice with the Life Eternal and the heirs in the other world, our future home.  We'll rejoice in the empty tomb, the hope of forever.  Us and them, we'll be united, and we'll dissolve into the fullness of the resurrected Christ, the great mystery of the death of death.

Easter--this is the story that has chosen me.

[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/13127598 w=400&h=225]

Death In His Grave Performance from Christopher & Nathaniel Calnin on Vimeo.