Easter is a Season AND a Verb

For most of my life, I’ve seen Easter as a one-day holiday, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. Recently, however, thanks to some of my liturgically minded friends, I’ve come to see Easter not just as a holiday, but also as a season.

The season of Easter is part of the church calendar (a tool largely abandoned by Pentecostal and Evangelical churches) designed to mark our year by the most significant episodes in the life of Jesus and the early Church. There are seven Sundays in the Easter season, counting Easter itself, leading up to the Day of Pentecost. Easter then, is not one day, but many. Easter incorporates the 40 days of Jesus’ post-resurrection presence with and among his disciples, and the 10 days between his ascension and the descent of the Holy Spirit onto the disciples in their Jerusalem upper room.

From the 11 a.m. Easter 2018 service at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Denver. (Marrton Dormish)

Now, all that might sound like technical mumbo-jumbo, but these events truly are worthy of re-ordering and guiding our lives today in the year 2018. We don’t think twice about birthdays or wedding anniversaries or national holidays like Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veterans Day, etc. How much more valuable then, to us followers of Jesus, are these stories from the Scriptures!

Last Sunday, during our church’s Easter celebration dinner, my friend Kathy read the following excerpt from a poem by Walter Brueggemann, one of my favorite Christian scholars and teachers:

“…Easter us, salve wounds, break injustice, bring peace, guarantee neighbor,
Easter us in joy and strength.
Be our God, be your true self, lord of life,
massively turn our life toward your life
and away from our anti-neighbor, anti-self deathliness.
Hear our thankful, grateful, unashamed Hallelujah!

I love that prayerful phrase: “Easter us.” I love the prophetic linguistic turn taken here by Brueggemann in transforming Easter from a noun into a verb. We need so badly to be Eastered, to find hope in the midst of our suffering, apathetic, oblivious lives trained to see Easter only as a holiday for white dresses and flowers and egg hunts.

Easter us, O Lord, into the hope of your new life and resurrection! Amen.

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