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Thoughts on Eastertide (from a Protestant)

 

Maybe, like me, you’ll need a working definition before you can consider observing the season of Eastertide. According to wikipedia,

Eastertide is the period of fifty days from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday.

 

A simple definition. As I've learned more about this season, I wonder why more Christians don't observe these fifty days? Why do we celebrate as David did only one day a year - on Resurrection Sunday?

Oh yes, I’ll dance to God’s glory—more recklessly even than this. And as far as I’m concerned . . . I’ll gladly look like a fool . . .  (1 Samuel 6:22a - The Message)

 

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Photo Credit: Mars Hill Church Seattle

 

This year I decided to extend the celebration. A blogging friend of mine had partnered with a graphic design artist to make some beautifully illustrated 3x5 cards helping readers commemorate Eastertide. Each morning, before my daily Bible reading, I would read the simple thought on one of these cards. Except they weren’t that simple. We considered the Resurrection through the eyes of Mary, the first person at the tomb. Lazarus, who had firsthand experience with resurrection. Thomas, Peter, John and other followers of Jesus. Often, these cards would provide food for thought throughout my whole day.

 

For example, the resurrected Christ walked on this earth for forty days before His ascension into glory. On those days I read words like these:

We are Easter people, the empty tomb always in the back of our minds, in every season. But at Easter, we are also Advent, Lent, Epiphany, and Good Friday people. This is how we are whole. (Cara Strickland)

 

He said my name, just my name. My broken heart leapt. There was no time to be tentative with joy. (a reflection on John 20:16 - Cara Strickland)

 

And this week, remembering the ten days after Christ left this earth, ascending into heaven. The final days leading up to Pentecost. When God told believers once and for all eternity, I will never leave you nor forsake you. When the Holy Spirit took up residence. In us. I shared some of my own reflections on Twitter:

Tweet: 10 days. That's how long Jesus' followers waited between #Ascension and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Waiting but for what? #Pentecost

 

Tweet: We saw Him leave us this time. Back to the Father. What's next for us? #Pentecost #pentecostsunday

 

Tweet: I'm thankful we have one another. Our Lord and Savior has ascended but together we can remember. #Ascension #Pentecost #PentecostSunday

 

For fifty days, I’ve extended my Resurrection Sunday celebration. The first few chapters of Acts leapt off the page in my mind as I put myself in the sandals of these early followers.  

And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. Acts 1:9

 

It heightened my worship. Remembering what Jesus had done on the cross. Celebrating that glorious empty tomb. These facts remained at the forefront of my thoughts. For almost fifty days now, I’ve had good reason to celebrate.

 

We used to sing a song in the little country church where I grew up.

Give me that old time religion, give me old time religion, give me that old time religion, it’s good enough for me.

 

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Photo Credit: denisbin 

 

Not once did I sing this song thinking of liturgy or holy days or seasons of the church. But I do now. I’m learning to rely on these church practices to help me remember. To right my focus. For thousands of years, the church has encouraged believers to observe festivals and days and weeks to focus on all God has done for us through His Son. When life is calling at me from a dozen other directions, these practices bring me back to the crucifixion. The Resurrection. I’m reminded (again) we serve a risen Savior.

 

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