For the church, this is, in fact, still Easter. Easter is not meant to be just one sunny Sunday, marked by a hearty meal and pastel hues, but it is, rather, a full season of feasting. Each one of the “Great 50 Days of Easter” ought to be marked and celebrated as Easter. We are called during this season to find some way, every day, to celebrate and feast.
And if you really think about it, this makes a lot of sense. Easter is the central event of our faith. Christ lived, really lived, like each one of us is alive. Then Christ died, really died, like so many of our loved ones have died and like we, too, will one day die.
Then the unthinkable, the unexpected, the unimaginable happened: Christ was alive again, really alive — physically and spiritually, but also changed and transformed. Christ was alive in such a way that he can never die again.
This resurrection is a preview and a foretaste of what God has in store for all of us, all of our loved ones, and indeed, the whole creation and cosmos at the last day, and it is our assurance that God will do it.
It means that God’s victory of life and love has defeated all that tries to break down and destroy God’s children: the forces of hatred, violence, vengeance, sickness and death. In this way the resurrection transforms how we experience this life, even as in so many ways, we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
The resurrection is now the light by which we live our lives, and sharing the news of it is the main reason we do everything we do in the church. That’s worth celebrating, vigorously, for at least 50 days.
In the church, we tend to do a pretty good job of observing the fast of Lent. We know how to examine what inside of us needs to be cleared out in order to allow more room for God to work in and through us. We’re usually pretty good at knowing what we need to turn around and make right in our lives. But I think we tend to not be so good at keeping the feast of Easter, where for 50 days we are called to steep ourselves in the unimaginable joy of the resurrection.
Lent reminds us that, as the collect puts it, “We have no power in ourselves to help ourselves,” (Book of Common Prayer, 218), but Easter reminds us that God does, God has and God will.
We celebrate this great and joyful fact for a full 50 days, because learning what it means to live in the light of the resurrection takes practice.
It takes us 40 days of Lent to really learn that we cannot save ourselves or our world, and it takes 50 days of Easter for us to be gripped and transformed by the fact that God can.
So what is your Easter discipline this year? How are you finding some way, every day, to celebrate and to feast? Jesus’ final command to us was to go and make disciples.
We can only convince others to follow Jesus when our own lives shine with the light of resurrection hope and joy, and that can only happen when we’ve feasted on Easter’s life-changing abundance. – A Meditation by Craig Loya
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