Like fasting during Lent, keeping the Easter feast is an ancient spiritual practice. We got through the hard part of Lent, so let’s not forget to celebrate! Finding ways to observe the resurrection for the fifty days of Easter can cultivate joy in our hearts, minds and bodies. A great way to keep the feast is by continuing to enjoy celebratory food and drink. One of the things my family does to keep the Easter feast is by going on walks in Duke Forest or Umstead Park, noticing how the world around us is bursting into bloom.
Using imagery of stem and seed, the poet and essayist Wendell Berry illuminates about how the Easter event burst forth suddenly and dramatically to defeat death. This poem of Berry’s, from his collection A Timbered Choir, is on our refrigerator right now:
What hard travail God does in death!
He strives in sleep, in our despair,
And all flesh shudders underneath
The nightmare of His sepulcher.
The earth shakes, grinding its deep stone;
All night the cold wind heaves and pries;
Creation strains sinew and bone
Against the dark door where He lies.
The stem bent, pent in seed, grow straight
And stands. Pain breaks in song. Surprising
The merely dead, graves fill with light
Like opened eyes. He rests in rising.
As we each find our own ways to keep the Easter feast, we might begin to get a sense of what parts of ourselves Jesus is renewing. At the end of fifty days, we will discover new joys. In the words of Berry “graves fill with light/Like opened eyes./He rests in rising.”
Berry’s poem reminds us to continue to invite the drama of Easter to plant a seed within us to grow our joy and hope. So let’s keep the feast!
Mother AliceTags: From the Clergy, Hope for the Journey