Practice Resurrection

by Brian Walsh

So what do you get when 130 people converge on Russet House Farm for a Practicing Resurrection conference? A lot of good conversations, shared meals, wet sleeping bags, rich worship, great workshops and a couple of fantastic teachers in Ched Myers and Elaine Enns. You can get a taste for the conference from Jen Galicinski’s YouTube piece.

Wanting to remind us of the imaginative source of our conference title, I opened our time together by reading Wendell Berry’s poem “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” and then proceeded to offer my own prose/poem.

“Practice resurrection”

Those two words,
the rallying cry of the Mad Farmer Liberation Front,
the summation of the Manifesto,
those two words,
the heart of Christian discipleship,
the invitation and call of this weekend conference,
two subversive words spoken in the face of a culture of death.

Practice resurrection
in a world of quick profits
and everything ready made.

Practice resurrection
in a world of obligated consumption
and generals and politicos.

Practice resurrection against all the odds.
“Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.”

To practice resurrection, my friends,
we need to be able to see just beyond the range of normal sight,
we need to expect the end of the world … and laugh,
we need to do something that will not compute,
we need to love the Lord,
love the world,
work for nothing.

We come together at Practicing Resurrection because we have considered all of the facts,
or at least enough of them.
We know what real profit is
and we know enough to abandon that which does not profit.
We know that while sometimes wisdom cries out at the street corners,
just as often she whispers in the carrion,
sighs as wind blowing through trees,
sings in the planting of crops and their harvest,
rejoices when people break bread together.

We have come to practice resurrection.
We have come to embrace the new birth,
we have come to say to the darkness, “we beg to differ,”
we have come to ask the important questions:
……Will this satisfy
………a woman satisfied to bear a child?
……Will this disturb the sleep
………of a woman near to giving birth?
Do you really want to interrupt that ten second nap between contractions?
Can we live our lives by such standards?
Are our decisions about dinner up to that kind of life bearing responsibility?

Welcome to Practicing Resurrection, my friends.
Welcome to a community of discernment.
Welcome to a conversation about wholeness.
Welcome to “Urban Agriculture and the Peace of the City.”
Welcome to the party that has already begun.

From the birds and the bees
to urban forestry and foraging for weeds;
from community gardens and Sabbath economics
to scripture and solar energy;
we’ve got it all.

But we can only practice resurrection
if someone rolled away the stone.
We can only practice resurrection
if the power of death has been broken.
We can only practice resurrection
if Jesus shows us the way.

Resurrection is new creation.
Resurrection is the restoration of broken relationships.
Resurrection sets the captive free,
binds up the broken,
establishes justice and mercy.

We can’t practice resurrection alone.
Not even Jesus can do that.
He needs Mary to mistake him for the gardener.
He needs the women to tell the fearful men.
……So long as women do not go cheap
……for power, please women more than men.

There is no resurrection without a body.
The body of Jesus,
……bruised, broken, pierced, risen.
We are called to that body.
We who have died in Christ have risen in Christ.
So practice that resurrection.

Ched Myers and Elaine Enns have been practicing resurrection for a long time.
Resurrection is about bringing life out of death,
……the life of justice out of the death of oppression,
……the life of peace out of the death of war,
……the life of generosity out of the death of greed,
……the life of restoration out of the death of brokenness
……the bread of life in a world of deep, deep hunger.

Ched and Elaine know something about justice, peace, generosity, restoration and bread.

Elaine and Ched, we welcome you as friends, as mentors, as elders in our midst, and as sister and brother on the path of Jesus. Before you come up, let us pray:

Come Lord Jesus,
come risen one,
come gardener of the new creation,
come feeder of the masses,
come vintner of new wine,
come bread of life.
Come into our midst this weekend,
make us into a community of discernment,
give us joy in the face of the evidence.
Come with healing in your wings,
come and hold our tears,
bind up the broken.
Come and bring us wisdom,
give us courage to prophecy,
and the patience to wait, not grasp.
Come Lord Jesus,
come in the life power of the Holy Spirit,
so that we too might practice resurrection.


Brian Walsh
Brian is an activist theologian, a retired CRC campus minister, the founder of the Wine Before Breakfast community, and farms with Sylvia Keesmaat at Russet House Farm.He engages issues of theology and culture, and has written a couple of books you might want to check out. His most recent offering is cowritten with Sylvia Keesmaat and entitled Romans Disarmed: Resisting Empire, Demanding Justice.

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