The resurrection of Christ is the central point of Christianity. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection were all for you. Regarding the resurrection of Jesus, we don’t celebrate his resurrection just on Easter Sunday. We celebrate his resurrection every time we worship. Every time we use our gifts and passions for God.
In your mind, perhaps, you have moved on from Easter with all the services, events and pictures. But Easter isn’t over, at least not for millions of Christians throughout history and the world today. Let me explain. Many people think of Easter as a one-day affair. Dressing up in new clothes for church, singing joyful songs in worship, and enjoying those egg hunts at Grandma’s.
The truth is Easter is not a one-day celebration, but a season of the year, a 40-day season at that. Unfortunately, for many followers of Christ, the notion of Easter as a season is theoretical at best. I have to admit, Easter as a season was never a part of my own Christian experience growing up in Gumbranch, GA.
Bill Risinger, our worship pastor at Lakewood Baptist Church in Gainesville, reminded us all this past Sunday about Eastertide. He even started the worship service with: “He is risen!” And we all replied, “He is risen indeed!”
Does the word “Eastertide” sound strange to you? During the past several years of ministry, I’ve grown to appreciate celebrating Easter as more than Easter Sunday and see it now as the Season of Easter. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Pascha or Easter, begins on Easter Sunday and continues for 40 days, through the ninth hour on the day before the Ascension.
So, you may ask, “What is the focus of Eastertide?” Simply stated, celebrating Easter for 40 days is not duplicating Easter Sunday 40 times over. Rather, it’s taking time to reflect upon and delight in the truth of Easter and its implications for our lives. The point is: the effects of Easter can’t be pondered adequately in just one day. I commend an attitude of Eastertide so that, as a Christ-follower, you may reflect more broadly and deeply on the multifaceted meaning of the resurrection of Jesus.
Here are a few ideas for Eastertide reflection over the next 40 days:
- Meditate on what the Resurrection says about the person, uniqueness and character of Jesus.
- Ponder the fact that because of Jesus’ life death and resurrection, death has been swallowed up in victory.
- Consider how the very power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to every Christ Follower today.
- Think about how our faith in the Resurrection assures us of a “new birth into a living hope” with the promise of eternal life.
Eastertide may be a new idea for you, but it is clear to see how our celebrating Easter as a season allows us to think deeply and pray broadly about what the resurrection of Jesus means. As you focus on Jesus’ resurrection, don’t be deceived or distracted from the pseudo-intellects— some in pulpits—who are attempting to be politically correct, to discount or to de-emphasize the bodily resurrection of Jesus.
Eastertide calls us to as season of proclaiming: He is risen! He is risen indeed! I would be honored to share more with you about how you could personally know the resurrection Jesus.