I heard of a local mega-church that raised a “sunrise” colored billboard one year that said simply “Easter: April 18-21.” The message implied a multi-day “come-when-you-can” Easter bonanza. The dates simply conflated the Church’s Three Days by squishing them into one long Easter Day event, repeated over four days running like a movie theater or a Broadway Musical.
I didn’t do it, but I wished that I could have raised a similar billboard that said (using that year’s
dates) “Easter: April 21-June 9.” My huge sign would have declared that the Good News of the Risen Christ is way too large to be restricted to one extended sprint weekend.
A full seven weeks of “fifty days” marks our Western catholic celebration of the Resurrection, ending in the Church itself raised up by the Spirit of Pentecost.
The Easter season starts out with dwelling on the Resurrection appearances, and then moves back in the Gospels to Jesus’ farewell speeches, while simultaneously moving forward in the Book of Acts as the gospel spreads.
Each week we are called not only to look for the Risen Christ’s presence deeper and deeper in our own lives, but also to ponder where the Spirit of the Risen Christ might be pushing us deeper into the world.
In Preaching and Teaching we will want to keep the bodily reality of the Resurrection front and center while illustrating what love looks like.
The weekly readings from Book of Acts give us lots of rich images of what Resurrection love and freedom look like:
A community sharing all that it has (Easter II)
Healing offered to a lame man (Easter III and IV)
The Scriptures opened up to an outsider (Easter V)
Good News proclaimed to the Gentiles (Easter VI)
and even Electing a new church leader (Easter VII)
The Risen Body of Christ, the Church, has concrete Easter work to do in embodying the Good News that Christ is alive and present.
While we start the Easter season at the empty tomb wondering along with Mary, we end the Easter season with full throated “Alleluias” in holy wonderment for what God is still doing among us and for God’s promised presence with us forever.
A Blessed Easter, Pastor Genszler