Happy Easter to you, dear reader! New life and rebirth are on my mind these days.
Speaking of rebirth, Sheri Hostetler and Sarah Augustine have launched the second season of their podcast, which discusses all things related to their work of undoing the Doctrine of Discovery and the intersection of their personal identities and shared Anabaptist faith.
In the second episode of the next season, they discuss Indigenous cosmology and their own faith and practices. Sarah quotes a friend and fellow theologian and activist from India‚ Wati Longchar of the Naga people, who mentions that in his context one of God’s names is “the one who goes down into the soil with the seed.”
Sarah says this resonates with her: “Who is God? God is the one who goes down into the soil with the seed and rises on the third day.”
Wow. I had to catch my breath when I listened to that episode and thought about that quote. Its Easter connection was surprising and gave me a new appreciation for the life that comes to us each spring.
If you haven’t listened to Sheri and Sarah on their podcast, you can find them on any podcasting platform by searching “Dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery Podcast” or find them on the Anabaptist World website.
I know that I am not alone in my love of the land and awe of the new life that comes each spring and summer. While I still feel quite new to my garden projects, I draw pride and inspiration from my family’s and ancestors’ connections to the land.
Both sets of my grandparents came from farming families. My father’s parents had a large garden their whole lives.
Anabaptists have carried with us a broad identity as people of the land. Throughout history and across continents, Anabaptist communities have tilled, toiled and tended land and community. My own patches of soil and shoots pale in comparison to these historic examples.
But in working the soil and caring for nature in small ways, I think that I’m connecting not only to the traditions of my people but to the miraculous work of God. As we care for creation, we are witnesses to the holy design of new life that sustains us all.
The Easter theme of this issue goes beyond my few musings here. I hope you find it to be full of poignant theological thought and news we should all be aware of. There are a few pieces that center this special Easter time and others that point us toward this summer, when the Mennonite World Conference assembly will take place virtually and in Indonesia.
I’m interested in your thoughts about “Faith of Our Mothers” on page 42. We’ve included a piece that recounts the work of Cara Quinn, a Fuller Theological Seminary graduate who has launched a project about the mothers of Christianity. I love the art she has integrated into her project, and it has made me wonder: Who are our Anabaptist mothers?