This is a question for those of you who still have a foot in churchland or maybe it’s for those of you who have left church. —-
Why is there so much focus on the forty days of Lent and not on the fifty days of Easter? During Lent, liturgical churches that I attended or in which I served would offer study groups, extra prayer time or retreats. A lot of attention was paid to the purging of our ways, and being aware of our brokenness as we prepared for Easter. Easter happened and there was a party. Alleluias return to the liturgy, trumpets appear and flowers fill the sanctuary. Then, in the liturgical calendar, fifty days of Easter follow till Pentecost is celebrated. I can’t recall a church I attended or in which I served that gave much focus to the celebration of new life that the Risen Christ gives us. Have you known church communities that kept the Easter party going for fifty days? I’d love to hear their stories.
Last week I was on a silent, but teaching retreat, with the theme ‘Celebrating Life’. One of the beauties of a zoom retreat was that I could ask a question without talking. That was so good! I asked the leader my Easter question and he got very still and then began to talk. He’s been a priest sixty years and has seen a thing or too. He too knew the problem. As he spoke some of the cloud around my question began to disappear.
As human beings we often orient to the negative rather than positive. We brush off happy stories but will let someone wallow in sorrow or grief giving it more time than someone who shares a success story. Books have been written on that orientation! Lent trumps Easter. At least since the Enlightenment (which did anything but bring light….) believers in the church have grown in doubting the reality and power of the supernatural. Intellect over intuition. Many people who attend Easter services don’t really believe that Jesus came back from the dead. We can believe we are selfish, but doubt that Jesus is still alive. We’ve become cultural Christians. Again, Lent trumps Easter. If we doubt the supernatural power of Easter, we’re not going to hear the power of his message that he’s come to give us new life and that we will do more than he has done as a healer and manifesting God in the world. There is no way we can celebrate the new life if we don’t know the transforming power of the Risen Christ in our lives and most of us don’t. We don’t even feel comfortable talking about our lack of transformative experiences. It’s still okay to be in church and gossip, complain, be competitive, worry etc. Lots of things I know Jesus told us he was here in which to show us a new way. Lent trumps Easter.
I know this is a much bigger issue than one short blog, but thanks for reading this far. My retreat week was awesome. I came home, refreshed, renewed, knowing again the reality of Christ in my life and yours. I’m moving in the never-ending Easter dance.
Imagine with me churches around the world celebrating the fifty days of Easter as one big ongoing family dinner party to which the whole word is invited. The Whole World. The doors are flung open, the kitchens are bustling, and love is being spread as we welcome all to the banquet. A never-ending Easter celebration of new life.
What might you celebrate today?
Love and prayers
Mystic in Motion
Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire
Contemplative Fire Canada, Founder
Companion on The Rivendell Way
Society Member with Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living