Monday, April 05, 2010
Is Easter Over?
It's the Monday after Easter, or "Bright Monday."
I went into the break room at work and saw another Christian there so I said to her, "Christ is risen," expecting to hear back, "He is risen indeed!"
Instead, I got a dumb look. After a short pause, she looked at me and said, "Um . . .well, yeah."
A few minutes later I saw another co-worker, a Lutheran. I said, "Amy, you know what day this is?"
She smiled brightly, as she always does, "Sure do . . . it's 'Easter candy on-sale day'."
It's like Easter is over and it's time to move on to Mother's Day and "Dads and Grads." We haven't taken the time to savor the holiday, the meaning, of Pascha.
But today is just the second day of Pascha. Pascha is the Greek form of the Hebrew word for Passover, and, of course, Passover is the context for Christ's Last Supper (which we now recall as the Eucharist). In the original Passover - you know Moses, the Red Sea, the lamb, first borns, etc. - the Hebrews were delivered from their slavery in a miraculous manner by God.
Just imagine what it may have been like the day after the Passover, had the Hebrews sat down about a day's journey from Goshen (where they were enslaved) and said, "Okay, that's over. What do we do now?"
That's what it's like when we think that somehow Easter (or Pascha) is 'over'.
The whole season of Easter lasts forty days, an upbeat, joyful, counter-image of the pentitential, somber, fasting forty days of Great Lent. Lent reminds us through our own discipline, prayer, fasting, and sobriety that Jesus Christ experienced those things on our behalf, on His Way to the Cross. Pascha reminds us that one the other side of that, there is life.
Lent is a preparation time, anticipating the Death of Jesus Christ. Pascha is a celebration time, exalting in His Resurrection.
How can we possibly sit and think, "Okay, that's over. What do we do now?"
What to do on Bright Monday - and the remaining season of Pascha? Here are some ideas:
- Read and re-read the Resurrection accounts from the Gospels. Examine how the Apostles and disciples were changed by this event. How might you have been changed?
- Read again I Corinthians 15, St. Paul's amazing description of the Resurrection and our participation in it, both now and for eternity. Who do you know that has already shared in Christ's Resurrection (I know my mother and my father-in-law have!).
- Spend time contemplating the new life that is surrounding you this time of year. Hyacinths, tulips, jonquils, daffodils, cherry blossoms, etc., are all signs of new life. In the same manner, Christ has brought new life to us!
- Throughout Lent, many of us wore Crosses to remind us of our special commitment to God during Lent. What is something that you might wear to remind you of God's special commitment to you during the Paschal season?
- During Church on Pascha morning, we renewed our baptismal covenant. Where were you baptized? Why not go there and spend some time, praying and reflecting on your new birth? Write down the experience of your baptism and tell it to your family and friends.
Easter isn't over yet . . . it's just beginning! May God bless you now and throughout this joyous season.
He is risen, indeed. Alleluia!