Lutherans seem to put most of their eggs in a pre-Easter basket. During Lent we hold special services, provide opportunities for prayer and works of love, encourage spiritual disciplines, pray for catechumens, and help people discern the Spirit’s movement in their lives. This is all wonderful and important and, by the time we get to the season of Easter, we feel somewhat spent and often do little to celebrate the Great Fifty Days.
I wonder what it would be like to practice the 50 days of Easter with as much fervor as the 40 days of Lent. I wonder how we can live through the days of Easter with intention and resolve. I wonder what it looks like to hold a fifty-day feast.
I love the Easter season. Beginning on Easter Day, it extends all the way to Pentecost. As it is a time of rejoicing, we do not kneel during Easter. We stand to receive communion. This is the posture of Resurrection that says the “feast of victory for our God” includes a meal of thanksgiving and joy. The prominence of the lighted Paschal Candle says that Christ is risen against the darkness of the world and that we have been baptized into the mystery of this holy death and resurrection. We sing or shout or say “Alleluia” many times over and greet one another with the words, “Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!”
The lectionary readings are filled with images and stories revealing the depth of the Christian journey. The lessons from Acts and the command to “love one another” from 1 John point to the unique vocation of the church as the risen body of Christ. The Gospel readings are filled with post- resurrection stories and pictures of the Risen One. These days are filled with unmistakable joy.
How might we make the most of these great days?
Pastor Van Kley and I invite you to keep up the practice of praying the daily lectionary. The daily readings can be found here, and will continue to be published in the Sunday bulletin (which you can access online if you have to miss church that week). You are invited to see how these readings amplify the Sunday readings and to use them for daily reflection.
Easter is also a time to discern and celebrate ministry in daily life. Whereas the season of Lent invites us to “become,” the season of Easter says, “you are.” The 8th -grade confirmands take this time to explore the promises of the baptismal covenant. In The WAY, we explore what this looks like as candidates discern their calling both in the church and in the world. Easter, then, becomes the time to explore in greater depth what it means for us live Eucharistic lives – broken and poured out for others.
It is also a time to explore what it means to live in Christian community. Vicar Pam Gompf will lead an adult discussion at Bread for the Journey on Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic book Life Together.
Easter provides rich fare and a space to live in the fullest sense of the Resurrection. I pray you will make the most of this time as a feast of faith and joy with the Risen Christ.