Saturday, February 5, 2022

The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster

Easter: Twice (at least) in his collected published prayers, Walter Brueggemann uses the word “Easter” as a verb. From an Ash Wednesday prayer called “Marked by Ashes” in Walter Brueggemann’s book Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth he prays,

Before the sun sets,
take our Wednesday and Easter us,
Easter us to joy and energy and courage and freedom;
Easter us that we may be fearless for your truth.
Come here and Easter our Wednesday
with mercy and justice and peace and generosity.

From a prayer called “Easter Us” in Walter Brueggemann’s book Prayers for Privileged People he prays,

Easter us,
salve wounds,
break injustice,
bring peace,
guarantee neighbor,
Easter us in joy and strength.

Brueggeman says “Easter us,” in the same way we might say to God, “Shelter us” or “Heal us.” When Easter becomes a verb—something that God can do—it brings the ancient mystery of the empty tomb into the here and now, and begs renewal, expectation, and hope. In this imperfect, often heart-rending world, the prayer “Easter us” pinpoints our longing for new life in Christ, which is somehow always there, just beyond the horizon. We reach out toward our Eastering God, speaking in anticipatory expectation that such renewal is possible. We pine for God’s resurrection, an awakening, and a life-saving Eastering presence made tangible in our midst.

Praying the Alphabet
Easter us, O God
Let echo your ever-luminous expansive voice.
As we elbow our way through exasperation and emptiness,
expand your extravagant, exhaustive, ever-widening love.
Set before us an entryway into eternity,
equipped to envision and embody
your endless embrace.