eleven:eleven Easter Celebration this Sunday!

Sometimes, when you’re feeling buried under, you’re really just being planted. — queer eye

Let your curiosity be greater than your fear. – pema chodran

There is in all visible things … a hidden wholeness. — thomas merton

I practice a disorganized religion, an unholy disorder, and we call ourselves
“Our Lady of Perpetual Astonishment”– kurt vonnegut

I’m still feeling a deep sense of joy and inspiration from our time together this past Sunday! Hannah Kirby was amazing as always, the band couldn’t have sounded better, it was a great gathering of welcoming people, and there were some wonderful, serendipitous surprises – including Kagan Parker’s spoken word piece, “Interconnected”. You can read that in full below!

So I hope you are planning to be with us this Sunday, April 17 at the Historic 512. It’s our first eleven:eleven in-person Easter celebration in three years!

That’s right! It’s hard to wrap my head around it, too; but our last in-person Easter celebration was in 2019! And so much has transpired since that Sunday!

And so I think it especially fitting to talk of resurrection having come through a deadly global pandemic (though we’re still facing the grief, anxiety, and weaker variants of that health crisis), a denominational shake up (though we remain impatient as we’ve had to once again put off meeting as an international body two more years to discuss what our future might finally look like), and a consciousness-raising reckoning with our own national issues of systemic racism and gender inequality (though the raising of consciousness on the one hand has resulted in the reactionary suppression of honest, vulnerable conversation on the other). Add to all of this a growing, violent war with Russia in Ukraine, with all its overtones of international angst, grief, and the threat of global war hanging in the balance, and we still find ourselves in an ever-unpredictable, uncomfortable time and place.

When someone once asked the poet/essayist Ross Gay (author of The Book of Delights) , “How can you possibly think about joy and delight at a time like this?”, his quick response was, “How can one NOT think about finding joy and delight, especially in such a time as this?”

This is “resurrection talk” – not so much the affirmation, or debate, of an ancient creedal belief in a thermal-dynamics-defying, pre-scientific interpretation, of what happened to Jesus after his crucifixion by the Roman empire 2000 years ago. But instead, this is about finding the redemptive possibilities of love and healing in all our moments, especially our difficult ones – where everything we see, everywhere we are, is changed. “Where”, as Peter Mayer wrote in his song, “the challenging thing becomes, not to look for miracles; but finding where there isn’t one.” Because everything is holy now.

My five year-old granddaughter and I were out planting some seeds a couple of weeks ago and she asked an innocent enough question that had never occurred to me to ask, “Do you think that seed gets scared when it gets buried under the dirt?”

She could have just as easily been asking, “Daiddo, do people get scared when they get ‘buried under’ with anxiety, bills, realities of war and hate, failure, guilt? Do you?”

Resurrection is really about the potentialities of life, the assurance that love prevails, the awakening awareness that at the heart of every darkness is the Divine invitation of light (or as Leonard Cohen wrote, “Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”)

Scary? Yes. Hard and cold and completely buried under at times? Absolutely.

But then my precocious granddaughter points to a sprouting flower in the bed and says, “Maybe this flower is telling the buried one not to worry. It’s gonna be just fine.”

The ancient Jewish Talmud has a saying that “over every blade of grass is an angel bending low and saying, ‘Grow. Grow’.”

Resurrection talk reminds us that love prevails. Life is astonishing with all it’s redemptive possibilities! The path of Jesus’ own life, death, and resurrection is the path not of redemptive violence, but of compassionate justice and the arc of the universe toward Shalom.

The writer and cancer survivor, Mark Nepo writes in his book, The Equisite Risk, “If peace comes from seeing things whole, then misery stems from a loss of perspective.” Life is filled with exquisite beauty. The risk is in trusting that vision and living with a wide enough vision of grace and humility to be astonished in even the most unlikely of moments!

I hope you can join us Sunday for a wonderful Easter Celebration of great music, kids’activities, spoken word, kairos, and Resurrection stories. There are sure to be some surprises and serendipitous moments for everyone!

Easter Surprise • April 17
eleven:eleven, downtown • At the Historic 512
“be astonished!”
rev. tom mcdermott

with brad thompson, kagan parker, claire kirk, alaina gunter,
the band, and an extended brass section, with the music of
stevie wonder, iris dement, ann peebles, and mumford & sons.

Two ways to join in this Sunday
In-Person @ the Historic 512, FW
(Mask wearing is optional. Extra masks available on site, as well as wider spaced seating)

Or Live, Online
Live Streaming
(On our FB page, join in with other viewers live @11:11 am)



I find we often focus on the things that make us different,
on things that prove that we are not the same.
As if somehow as an island I am stronger,
than being a piece of a broad and unique land.

It is strange at times to think that we are all connected.
At times we forget to look for the ties that join our souls.
I know it is hard to hold your pain in one hand,
and also see the pain of those who do you wrong,
To fathom that every one of us
has a heart that is oh so worthy of being loved.

I find myself in awe of our connection,
of our humanness,
our flaws,
our need to belong.
I’m astonished by the strength that is found in bearing witness,
to another who is spinning on this globe.

Healing is found in places where we gather,
in raw form,
in vulnerability.
In spaces where we feel true enough
to acknowledge,
that I am you
and you are part me.

-Kagan Parker


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