Such a good rebel I am (sarcasm warning), that when I “run away” from church this is what I do. First I thought about the “new fire” of the Easter Vigil. The words of Christ be out Light by Bernadette Farrell ran through my head as I unwrapped one of the candles my son and I had bought for Earth Hour, placed it in a vase and said a quick prayer to God who as both the “alpha” and the “omega” is best placed to subvert binaries and undo inequities. Then I rewrote the Easter proclamation, leaving out things that seemed either kyriearchal, patriarchal, meaningless or bad theology (yes a subjective judgement but please read the verse in brackets about your right to write a different one if this one doesn’t do it for you). Then it was too short so I reread all nine lessons of the Easter vigil (surprising how many I remembered considering it has been a few years since I went to an Easter vigil) and I wrote a verse or half a verse based on my interpretation and response to each reading (once again you are free to read the readings more carefully and write your own). I tried to stay true to what I think the Easter proclamation and lessons do for us, grounding us in tradition and helping us access the mystery of the resurrection in historically grounded ways (but as usual I had a focus on my place at the margins as a woman and I tried to be mindful that there may be other people at the margins of story too).
So I will post my long poem/proclamation and then I will go shower off all my long journey (I camped at Mt Gambier last night and we climbed a small hill or two on the way home) and I will remember my baptism and birth and the way I passed through waters to be made a part of God’s family that has unlimited access to hope and a constant call to love. And then I will have some dark chocolate and scotch which also follows the pattern of a traditional easter vigil although I wouldn;t really claim it is “Eucharist” since I am doing this alone and more contemplating than celebrating (but I will go to church tomorrow). I can’t be sure that anyone is both estranged enough from church to need an alternative version and has been engaged enough in catholic church life to need or want a revised version. But for anyone else I guess it is a curiosity. Nevertheless to me fire, water and food are powerful symbols of LIFE.
Rejoice heavenly powers, sing out planets, stars and all that is,
take heart creation and join the heavenly dance,
for God’s promise is unbroken, no power can reign over us;
Christ shatters even death to bring all to newness and liberation.
Spin slowly earth through light and darkness,
through mornings filled with joy and light and meaningful work,
evenings bringing peace to us and joy to all nocturnal creatures
as light and dark both join hands and embrace the globe together.
Open you ears, oh church, to hear the cries of all the oppressed;
open your doors and open wide your hearts to hear,
how Wisdom breaks down binaries and lifts up any we’ve cast down.
Rejoice to learn anew the radical and liberative gospel.
(My dearest friends, if you consider me unworthy
to bring these words of praise and hope and happiness
then seek the Easter message in your own hearts and the love you bear
and in creation radiant with the brightness of the colours of God’s depths.)
May the resurrected life be with us.
We lift our hearts in hope.
We celebrate the risen life of one who was greater than all oppression
and calls us into liberation.
It is truly right,
That with full hearts and minds and voices
We revisit as much of salvation history as we can
To trace the origins of the one who became Jesus of Nazareth and showed radical commitment
bleeding like a woman giving birth, and dying helpless, human to the end.
And so we remember our origins, in your breath creator God
who made the heaven and the earth, the waters also the land,
plants, animals, humans in all their variation and diversity. (Gen 1:1-2:2)
We had free will, yet we did not always listen to your voice of reason.
We did not live in love with one another and the earth.
We set up systems of oppression, and ways to rule over each other
and would even have sacrificed our own children for power. (Gen 22: 1-18)
Your beloved people were enslaved and called to you to rescue them;
You called forth leaders and activists, parted the sea, fed them with bread (Ex 14:15-15:1 also some reference to subsequent events)
and gave us moral codes so that we would consider how we live.
You came to us as a lover, claimed us as your family
and renewed us in every age again and again. (Isaiah 54: 5-14)
Hope is the eternal pattern of our journey with you
And the reign of evil is never inevitable, and cannot drive you out of us.
You bid us listen to you and enjoy food and water without having to pay;
You filled up your barns and set your tables and invited us to feast;
You bid us feed each other, abandoning corruption and competition
and then sent your Word that cannot return without fulfilling itself. (Isaiah 55: 1-11)
You bade us seek Wisdom and cling to her, (Baruch 3: 9-15; 32-4:4)
To see her move among us on the earth which she co-authored with you.
You gathered us together from where we were scattered and quarrelling
And you bade us know that we are yours and you are ours. (Ezekiel 36: 16-28)
Like a deer that longs for running streams, my soul thirsts for you
The music wells up within me when you draw near and touch me (Ps: 41)
With Easter joy.
In our human life we are baptised, born through water
and touch your life as you touched ours
You showed solidarity and love in walking with, touching us
and dying with us.
We will follow you through our lives and deaths and beyond. (Rom 6: 3-11)
This is the night, when we remember Mary of Magdala’s grief; (Matthew 28: 1-10)
Her deep love and loyalty to come to tend to you
when all hope seemed gone.
We remember the guards, tools of the Empire, shaken and scattered,
the stumbling-block, every inequality rolled away,
the faces of angels who took her hand and affirmed her ministry
so that she went and called her sisters and together they saw…
The Risen One,
The rebirth of all their hopes,
The triumph of the creative powers of God,
and the sacred continuation of their love and power to touch the mystery.
Jesus sent the women to tell all the apostles,
ahe apostles to tell all the world
and us to continue to preach the gospel of tombs opened, oppression undone
and a great feeding regardless of ability to pay.
Therefore God our creator, receive with Jesus our thanks
as we move from contemplating what has hurt us
to remembering that you come to heal and renew us in yourself.
Accept this Easter candle, symbol of the fire in our hearts
undimmable spirit you have placed in us,
unquenchable inevitability that we will always break our chains,
also our willingness to break the chains of others
Let it mingle with the lights of the stars you created
mirroring the love of Jesus who broke all boundaries
even opening up the boundary between death and life
to call us back into right relationship with God.
Jesus, Sophia, the morning star that never sets,
will shine in our hearts this night and always,
will guide us and all creation into your peace
and call us more deeply than ever into life and love.