I read Ann Voskamp’s post today as she reflects on the meaning of Easter and coming to the conclusion that Easter is NOT a conclusion, but rather Easter is a beginning and living as Easter people means to live the resurrection; which links me to the previous post I put in before this one.
Anyway, this idea of Easter not being just a day but a whole season and a way of life was not new to me; indeed, it is exciting to see others come to this realization too! As I read Ann’s post and admired the spiral her son crafted (I wish I had a pattern or could buy one!), I couldn’t help but hear in my head the calling of Godly Play, that wondrous way of experiencing scripture and stories of faith with children. (I trained as a GP facilitator and founded two GP ministries in churches I was part of.)
My mind harkened back to the very first story of the Godly Play series, “The Circle of the Church Year”. (Those who work with Children Worship & Wonder know this story as “How the Church Tells Time.”) In telling this story, we see and gain an understanding of the rhythms of the church or liturgical year, beginning as it does with Advent-the four Sundays/weeks of waiting and preparing for The Mystery of Christmas-the birth of Christ. Then there are the green-growing times that lead up to the season of Lent, which is six weeks “because the Mystery of Easter is an even greater mystery than Christmas” and so we need more time to prepare. And then we reach the Mystery of Easter, which is such a “great mystery that you can’t keep it in only one Sunday. It keeps going on for one, two, three, four, five, six weeks!”
Which of course brings us to the other great mystery, the Mystery of Pentecost, where Jesus is lifted up and a few days later the Holy Spirit comes down and The Church is born.
But let’s go back to Easter, the greatest mystery of faith. And yes, Easter isn’t just one day of wonder, it’s more than a season, too; it is a chosen lifestyle. Living into the resurrection is, for me, what it means to be a Christ-follower. (And, incidentally, why does the Roman Catholic Church use the crucifix more than the empty cross? Christ rose from the dead!) As Augustine said, “We are Easter people, and alleluia is our song.”
The resurrection, in its triumph over death and suffering, is the great sign and symbol of our hope and our joy. We are meant to carry on by being Christophers–bearers of Christ, bearers of Light. Therefore, we live the resurrection; day by day and week by week. It fills the rhythm of the Christian life. It is the rhythm of nature: spring (new life), summer, fall, winter (death), spring (resurrection), etc. Even pagans celebrate the rebirth and renewal of life (which is partly why the Church usurped so many pagan celebrations as it set about converting the world to Christianity).
Nevertheless, we are called to live as Easter people, people of the resurrection, and that means people of great hope and light. We are called to live, and I mean LIVE!