Seed of Inspiration
Each Saturday we have brought you a reading from different religious, spiritual, or philosophical tradition that continues in the spirit of the Women's March. For our final Spiritual Saturday, I will be sharing my own meditation for the Christian Holiday of Holy Saturday and Easter Vigil. Whether or not your are of the Christian tradition, we invite you to simply meditate on the seed with an open mind and heart.
Many Christians across the world tonight will be attending EasterVigil services. These vigils mark both the end to the Lenten fast and the first celebration of the resurrection of Christ. Historically, these services included the baptisms of any adults who had been studying and preparing for entrance into the Church, and as many as 12 stories of God's redemptive work across the history of God's people are retold alternating readings, music, and prayers, so these services can often last up to 3 hours! Only for the holiest night of all nights -- the night when Jesus passed from death into life -- would many of us be able to do church for 3 hours!
Call me Morticia Addams, but these grim Holy Week services are my favorite of the whole church year. I know I'm not normal when I say this because my clergy collegues have been bemoaning on Facebook this week spending countless hours preparing the complex worship services that are Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Vigil, only to have a small handful of folks show up. They wonder, "is this even worth my time preparing these services?!" The answer for a lot of clergy is "no." So they'll pick just one of the three Holy Week services to celebrate, or combine two. Easter Sunday on the other hand, always seems worth the effort. Why? Because people show up! You can always count on people to come out of the woodwork for a party with trumpets, lillies, chocolate Easter eggs, and "Alleluias!"
Now, I am by no means saying that one must go to Holy Week services to be a "good Christian" (whatever that means!), but this Holy Week atttendance phenomenon (example: 12 people at Good Friday service, 278 people at Easter Sunday service) demonstrates a human tendency, doesn't it? It reminds me of the first stanza of a poem by one seedy poet, Ella Wheeler Wilcox, titled "Solitude."
The "tendency" to "shrink from voicing care" goes back even to the original story behind this week. After Judas betrayed Jesus, and things started looking grim, Jesus' "boys" hit the road. It just got too scary. Obviously, if this guy Jesus were the messiah, he would have been able to stop all this scary stuff from happening to him. Even Jesus' "rock" Peter denied that he even knew Jesus three times before disappearing! All twelve of Jesus' friends who had feasted with him just the night before and sworn their loyalty to him betrayed and deserted him.
In the end, it was only Jesus' mom and two other women who faithfully stuck by Jesus' side, persisting nevertheless, huddling around the Romans' version of the electric chair to watch Jesus breathe his last. Those women were so faithful, so persistent, they even gathered again two days later at the tomb for the unpleasant task of tending to his decaying body. These ladies were no "fair-weather" disciples. They were strong, persistent, loyal, and brave. And so it is no surprise that it was to these faithful women disciples that the risen Christ first appeared...
We women are no strangers to grief, to heartache, to pain. Our strength is in our ability to show up when times get tough and gather around those who are in labor, in grief, or in pain, and tend to them, fight for them, and lift them up. That's what we do. That's what we women did for Jesus in the end. That's what we do for each other...
And that, my seedy friends, is exactly what you have been doing the past 40 days. Instead of just showing up for the chocloate and bunnies on Easter morning, you have spent much of your last 40 days huddling with 1,034 other people online, gathering around those who are broken, those who are opressed, those who are in pain, and lifting them up with your seeds of love in action.
So I want to thank you friends from the bottom of my heart -- thank you for gathering first to feed the hungry before feasting. I know it isn't always pleasant to stand with others in their pain. It can be scary. It can make you sad, and mad, and overwhelmed all at once -- which makes self-care all the more important. Standing with others in their pain can also sometimes mean standing against the powers that be, which can place you directly in the line of fire. Often it gets so hard that we just want to deny it like Peter and walk away, and then come back to celebrate with breakfast on the beach when it's all over. And that's totally understandable. This work is holy and it is tough, so thank you so much for sticking with it for 40 long days. Together we have planted more than 25,000 seeds that have begun to grow and sprout new life in this world already! And we've done this big thing not by forging forward on our own, but by the collective power of our love -- a power that my faith tradition has taught me is stronger even than death.
Seed of Action
This may be the end of our march, but it is not the end of Seeds to Scatter! After a haitus period of rest and reflection, S2S will be back! Most likely, that will probably look like weekly posts with another daily march during Advent (don't fret -- Advent is only 18 days). Also, given your feedback, I plan to update our website and make our format going forward a bit more spiritually focused.
But I can't keep S2S going on my own, without a huddle of other feminists around me, so I need your help to keep the seeds a-scattering! As your Seed of Action today, let's gather together online in a huddle on The Seeds to Scatter Community Facebook Group! There you can introduce yourself and meet the other marchers you've been trekking with these past 40 days, share seedy posts and articles you come across that might be good for future S2S posts, post seedy stories and pictures from your life, ask questions, offer ideas and support, and more! Feel free to add all your seedy friends to the group, even if they didn't march with us. The more the merrier!
My love notes will be different for our final week. I'll be sharing a seed of wisdom and a seed of gratitude that I have picked up along our march. I hope you share yours with us by emailing them to email@example.com, posting them in our Facebook Group, or tweeting them @seeedstoscatter!
Seed of Wisdom: I have learned that when a leader routinely behaves in a way that is abhorrant, the abhorrant becomes routine. Even those of us who might have once felt shock and horror at the quotations in the news might now only let out a groan when we hear the next gaff. That is because we human beings cannot maintain a constant state of high anxiety; it's just too exhausting. We have no choice; it is biologically impossible for us to keep feeling shock and horror, but we do have a choice on how we react to the next behavior. We can choose to accept the behavior as normal and move on with our lives, or we can buckle down and strategize for the long-haul about how to bring kindness back into our leadership.
Seed of Gratitude: I am so grateful to God, the ground of all being, the breath of Creation that called me down this path. All human community holds the potential to be a place of great wounding, and the Church -- even for all her intentions -- is no different. What can be particularly painful is when we are wounded by the Church, we often feel wounded by God herself. The journey of healing back to God and back to spiritual community can be long and difficult, but it's worth it. This project has been part of that healing for me, and for that I give thanks.
And above all... scatter with love!