Points of beauty and perspective to mark the holy week, including a stirring rendition of Blake's "Jerusalem," a favorite essay on the woman at the heart of Easter Sunday, musings on yoga spirituality for atheists, the opposite of shame, the need for gentleness, the insights of dependence, and the adventure of being born baffled.
This week held many surprises, including a lovely take on the story of Mary Magdalene, our first live event in our new studios, a scene from the Boston Public Library, and chopping wood with, yes, a Finnish axe.
What in our lives can be unraveled? A poem and a reflection on the raising of Lazarus and the miracle after the miracle of the Easter story.
Religious traditions take many forms in the U.S. For a Nigerian immigrant's daughter, it's creamy frejon that's the Easter week delicacy.
During these days sacred to both Christians and Jews, a reflection on making space for recreating staid narratives and the new ones we all write together.
An Orthodox theologian sees crosses in the bloom of a bloodroot.
A thoughtful guest essay on Easter not just being about Jesus' resurrection but Mary Magdalene too. Take three minutes to listen and read.
The end of Easter in Prague, Czech Republic. (photo: Leonardo Sagnotti/Flickr, cc by-nc-nd 2.0)
In the Czech Republic, a tradition of spanking or whipping women is carried out on Easter Monday. On Easter Monday morning, it is customary for girls and women to stay at home while the boys and men, usually dressed in nicer clothing and sometimes even in kroj — traditional costume — go door to door of female relatives and/or friends, bringing greetings, singing Easter carols, demanding the right to spank the women with a special handmade whip called a pomlázka and/or splash them with cold water or perfume for good luck and fertility, and demanding “treats” (eggs, chocolate, liquor, or a peck on the cheek) as their reward.
A sign hangs on the wall of a Taizé community in Burgundy, France. (photo: forteller/Flickr, cc by-nc-sa 2.0)
It is Easter week. This week, we remember the events from Thursday’s meal to Friday’s torture to Saturday’s silence and Sunday’s mystery.
Years ago, 13 years ago in fact, I fell apart. I was 22 and I had already been sick for a year. It had started with a bad flu that had never gone away. After 12 months, I was bewildered and dizzy and achy, confused with a fatigue and an illness that would take a further five years to diagnose and a total of nine years to recover from.
In the beginning was poetry. The book of Genesis starts with a liturgical poem.
The creation of the cosmos can only be communicated, the ancients knew, through language that speaks to the imagination — that unity of intellect and emotion, which was for the biblical writers the restless human heart. Images and metaphors are primary speech, conveyers of truth — durable yet pliable, precise yet ever expansive in the vision of the world (and ourselves) they set before us.
The farm and now heritage center of Byron Herbert Reece, who lived and wrote in the Choestoe area of Union County, Georgia. (photo: UGArdener/Flickr, CC by-NC 2.0).
It’s about as simple as poems come:
Easter is on the field:
With bloom their tomb unsealed
To April air.
New as the dew shake cold,
Beside their anxious dams:
Easter is on the fold.