Apr 08, 2021The Great 50 Days

The Great 50 Days

Kim Snodgrass Three-minute read.   Resources
Image by Plukje from Pixabay

Easter is a season and the great mystery of our tradition. We cannot fully explain how Jesus rose from the dead or understand how a heavy stone was rolled away from the tomb. We cannot fully comprehend what it means for our own lives (and deaths), that the Son of God overcame death on the cross. We live in a society eager for clear answers. To believe in the mystery of Easter, to have faith in something we cannot fully understand, is not only counter-cultural, it is a small rebellion!

Believing the mystery realigns us to awe and wonder, trust in God, and the hope of everlasting love. Consider taking time this Easter season to sit with this mystery, to feel the discomfort of uncertainty and to rest in God’s great love which is, in the fullness of time, making all things new.

Since Easter is not just one day, but a season, the church marks this time in special ways.

Why 50 days? After the resurrection, Jesus spent forty days on earth before ascending and ten more days after that until the Day of Pentecost. During this time Luke writes that Jesus “presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.”

Since Easter is not just one day, but a season, the church marks this time in special ways.

The Paschal candle is lit during all services. The Easter acclimation – “Alleluia, Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed!” – is used at Eucharist and the daily offices. “Alleluia, alleluia” is added to dismissals and lots of Alleluia music is chosen. The Confession of sin might go missing and a reading from the Acts of the Apostles is used on Sundays in place of the Old Testament lesson. Since the entire season is a celebration, the vestments and altar colors are white. Lectionary readings explore the post-resurrection appearances of Christ – back to a closed room in which Jesus suddenly appears, breakfast with Jesus and Peter and revisit Jesus’ teaching that prepared his disciples (and us), to take the power of his message to the world.

We are Easter people! We stand on resurrection ground. Easter is not only our greatest party (much greater by the way than Christmas, whatever you do on Christmas you ought to do ten times as much at Easter); Easter is the only reason we are here at all!

Anglican theologian N.T. Wright

Receive the gifts of this season!

  • Take time off. Take a whole day to celebrate with God.
  • Dive into stories of Christ’s resurrection or experience the resurrection joy of spring. After a long winter, doesn’t an opportunity to marvel at creation sound wonderful!
  • Feast! Throw a delicious Eastertide dinner, bake a cake to share, or reach out and provide food for those who are struggling.
  • Share and listen to stories. When we step outside our comfort zone to share our experiences of the Lord, we encourage one another’s faith, and when we share vulnerably about our struggles, we build trust and friendship with those who can love and help us.
  • Pray about your next steps. The Lord always has more for us because our faith is not a faith of reading something and thinking, “How nice.” Our faith is a faith of proclamation, action, prayer, and response.

This Easter season may we take time to consider our part in the Resurrection story and let Christ be the light by which we see everything else.

Sources: 50days.org, anglicancompass.com, stmatthewssnellville.org; buildingfaith.org and churchrez.org.

Kim Snodgrass is Assistant to the Bishop for Christian Formation.

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