A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
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I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Forty Days of Lent? What About the Fifty Days of Easter?

One thing I have noticed as a Protestant whose tradition observes the forty days Lent. We don't seem to be very good at observing the fifty days of the Easter season. Yes, we pull out all the stops in worship on Easter Sunday, but then we seem to immediately go back to business as usual. While we have special times and services during Lent, we fail to place such emphasis on the season of resurrection between Easter Sunday and Pentecost.


And yet, Easter is the most significant holiday of the Christian year. Though we celebrate Christmas as the central holiday as far as emphasis, it is not. Without Christ's resurrection there is no Christian faith. If Jesus has not been raised, there are no Christmas celebrations to be had. The primary importance of Easter is revealed in the ordering of the Christian year. Unlike Christmas, Easter is a moveable feast, which means that it does not fall on the same date every year; and it is the date of Easter each year that determines the entire liturgical calendar. (For how the date of Easter is calculated, see here.) Thus, while the church observes Advent and Christmas as the beginning of the liturgical year, it is Easter that is the theological culmination and beginning of the Christian year.

So the question is why many Protestants who observe Lent, do not observe, in similar fashion (in reference to importance), the full fifty days of the Easter season. Why is the greeting, "He is risen!" reserved only for Easter Sunday and not for the entire Eastertide? Why is resurrection absent from some Protestant preaching the Sunday following Easter Sunday?

On Ash Wednesday we are invited to observe a holy Lent for forty days. Why are we not similarly invited to observe a joyful Easter for fifty days following the morning the empty tomb is discovered?

I'm just wondering.

4 comments:

prayerlogue said...

I read an article the other day that said something about "checking 'Celebrate Easter' off our 'to-do' list". Last night in our women's Bible study we looked at the two on the road to Emmaus. The title I used was "10 Lessons from the Road". We saw that those two were "Easter people" and didn't even know it. The war had been won, but the battle in their hearts raged on. We are Easter people, too, but we still walk with our eyes and our hearts downcast. We say that we know that Jesus walks with us, but our feet still drag, and our shoulders sag. Perhaps if we celebrated Eastertide like we do Lent, our eyes would be opened and our hearts warmed, too.

Anonymous said...

1. Set up a "Stations of the Resurrection" for people to meditate on during these 50 days.

2. Pick mostly hymns and songs that deal with Easter themes.

3. Keep the sanctuary decorated with Easter themes... white paraments are not enough.

4. Any liturgy used in worship (such as calls to worship and dismissals) ought to be also about Easter themes and include "alleluias"

5. Have a special study during the 50 days just as churches do during Lent.

Allan R. Bevere said...

Perhaps if we celebrated Eastertide like we do Lent, our eyes would be opened and our hearts warmed, too.

Betty, well said!

Allan R. Bevere said...

Anon,

Good thoughts. It would be great to know who you are.