Have you been "lifting" recently?
There is an Eastertide game which was once very popular and aptly called "lifting." It is somewhat a challenging game and somewhat dangerous too! The origins of the game are said to come from the resurrection itself as Our Lord was "lifted" from the grave, though rising sits more comfortably perhaps. The game itself was about the physical "lifting" of people as so to represent the resurrection.
The game involves decorating a chair and I am guessing here, but possibly a wooden kitchen style chair, with white ribbons and flowers. The person who is to be "lifted" first is led to the chair. The men were always the first to be "lifted" by the women and then the women "lifted" by the men. There were always eight people four male and four female and when the first person was seated with great pomp and circumstance, then the women would lift the chair plus man as high as possible in the air. When he was back safely upon the ground there were kisses all round for the "lifted" and lifters. This process was repeated for each male and then each female. If someone refused to be "lifted" the fine was five shillings - so quite pricey!
I don't know if I fancy this rather rough and tumble sounding game, but by all accounts it was a popular Eastertide game. It did though die out naturally in the Nineteenth Century and was sometimes called heaving. I am certainly pleased we don't play this today!
Now this has no real Easter thought behind it and just a slight nodding reference to the resurrection. It appears more the sort of game that young men and women might have enjoyed, especially the kissing at the end. However it did challenge me to think more about lifting at this time of the year. We are often lifting, weeds, rocks and plants in our gardens with the longer and maybe warmer days of Spring, we might lift our planters and re -position them now that warmer times are on the way. We may well be busy in the veggie gardens lifting and planting ready for the season ahead and the eventual harvest. While we carry out these chores are we thinking about the death and resurrection of Our Lord? I guess not really but here is the challenges that we do. That we look for the signs of new life new hope in all we are doing.
Equally, we we consider housework too allows us to contemplate the Easter message as we turn the mattress, move furniture, clean the brass etc. There is always space to think, new things to see and challenge where we are. There are fresh ways of looking at things and not gloomy heavy things but with joy and laughter. I am sure the game of lifting was once popular and might have been fraught with dangers but full of laughter and maybe hope too. So too the message of Easter is still with us, full of joy and excitement each and every day. Let us embrace the idea of lifting as we remember the resurrection and lift our hearts, souls and bodies to God each and every day in all we try and do.