Formation Fridays: The Season of New Possibilities
“But I have sure faith
that I will experience the Lord’s goodness
in the land of the living!” (Psalm 27:13)
Today marks the thirteenth day of the Easter season. Most of my life I thought Easter was only one day. I dare say most of Western Christianity celebrates Easter for only one day. Sure, there is Holy week before Easter. Even that is new for many Christians. I thought for years Holy week was just a Catholic thing. Little did I know, Easter is a 50 day season, counting all the way to Pentecost! Longer than Advent. Longer than Lent. Well, of course it is! The resurrection is everything!! I think N.T. Wright says it best…
“Easter week…ought to be an eight-day festival, with champagne served after morning prayer or even before, with lots of alleluias and extra hymns and spectacular anthems. Is it any wonder people find it hard to believe in the resurrection of Jesus if we don’t throw our hats in the air? Is it any wonder we find it hard to live the resurrection if we don’t do it exuberantly in our liturgies? Is it any wonder the world doesn’t take much notice if Easter is celebrated as simply the one-day happy ending tacked on to forty days of fasting and gloom?
We should be taking steps to celebrate Easter in creative new ways: in art, literature, children’s games, poetry, music, dance, festivals, bells, special concerts, anything that comes to mind. This is our greatest festival. Take Christmas away, and in biblical terms you lose two chapters at the front of Matthew and Luke, nothing else. Take Easter away, and you don’t have a New Testament; you don’t have a Christianity; as Paul says, you are still in your sins.
If Lent is a time to give things up, Easter ought to be a time to take things up. Champagne for breakfast again—well, of course. Christian holiness was never meant to be merely negative. The forty days of the Easter season, until the ascension, ought to be a time to balance out Lent by taking something up, some new task or venture, something wholesome and fruitful and outgoing and self-giving. You may be able to do it only for six weeks, just as you may be able to go without beer or tobacco only for the six weeks of Lent. But if you really make a start on it, it might give you a sniff of new possibilities, new hopes, new ventures you never dreamed of. It might bring something of Easter into your innermost life. It might help you wake up in a whole new way. And that’s what Easter is all about.”
—N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope
So, how do you plan on spending the remaining 5 weeks of Easter?
-Pastor Becky Elliott