April 8, 2010

Easter Isn't Over

An E-pistle from United Methodist Bishop Mike Coyner of Indiana:

I have already been asked, “Did you have a good Easter?” The question implies, of course, that Easter is over. Those who ask that question mean well, and of course they are referring to Easter Sunday, but I want to affirm today that Easter isn’t over.

In terms of the Christian calendar, Easter is a season, not just one day. Easter is the season of “Great 50 Days” from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. This year those dates are from April 4th to May 23rd. The dates vary each year, just as Easter varies as it follows the lunar calendar by which Passover is computed. But Easter is always a season, not just one day.

In terms of our Christian faith, too, Easter is not just a once a year affirmation, it is an on-going expression of faith. Years ago Avery and Marsh wrote a cute little song called “Every Morning Is Easter Morning From Now On” – and that song expresses our Easter faith. Every day is a new day, and Easter is an on-going lifestyle of faith. Easter isn’t over.

In terms of our Christian worship, Easter is not just one day a year. The very fact that we Christians worship on Sunday is a reminder that “every Sunday is a little Easter” (as I was taught in seminary). Those followers of Jesus who believed in his resurrection changed the centuries-old Jewish tradition of worship on the Sabbath (Friday sundown through Saturday) and began to worship on Sunday. We continue that tradition of worship on the Lord’s Day, as a way of remembering that Easter isn’t over.

Most importantly, we live our life and face our death trusting that Easter isn’t over. The resurrection of Christ is the first-fruit or “down payment” to assure us that our faith journey continues beyond death. Easter isn’t over, and it will not be over when our human life is over.

That’s the whole message of Easter, isn’t it? It isn’t over. God’s love is not defeated. Our faith-journey continues. Our experience of God’s power and grace continues … on and on and on. Easter isn’t over.