Saturday, April 26, 2014
So often we think of Easter as a one-day event. We celebrate it, like the 4th of July, and then move on with life. As a result, although we enjoy the day, Easter has little lasting impact on our daily existence, our thoughts, our attitudes and our deeds.
Easter as Participation
Two key concepts can help us integrate Easter into our lives in a more profound and long-lasting way. First, we need to celebrate the resurrection by entering into Easter as Participation more than just Remembrance. Yes, on Easter morning we remember the very real events nearly 2000 years ago when Christ was literally raised from the dead.
More than that, however, we enter into those events to experience resurrection in our own lives. “If we have been united with him like this [by baptism] in his death,” states the Apostle Paul in Romans 6:5, “we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.”
The whole of the Christian life is about joining with Christ—being “in Christ.” In him, we die to Satan, sin and a self-focused existence. And in him we are raised to newness of life. That is what baptism is all about, as Romans 6 explains. Further, in Christ we are adopted into the family of God. And in him we are already seated at God’s right hand in the heavens (Ephesians 1:3-2:6)!
Therefore, we can celebrate Easter as a time of Participation in the cosmic events of salvation. We enter into the divine mysteries that we can only understand in part—the Son of God dying for our sinfulness and being raised from the dead for our salvation! In one sense, those mysteries are simple enough for children to grasp. Yet, on a deeper level, we will spend our whole lives—and eternity—coming to realize God’s fathomless love that brought this to pass.
Season of Easter
Second, resurrection becomes more a part of our lives when we celebrate the whole season of Easter rather than the one day. Historically the church has celebrated Easter as the 50 days stretching from Easter morning until Pentecost. It is a season of the church calendar focused on our Lord’s resurrection and his weekly appearances to his disciples.
Just as Lent is a 40 day fast in preparation for Holy Week and the resurrection, so the Easter season is a 50 day feast celebrating that resurrection. We need both for healthy Christian growth. We need the season of fasting and cleansing, allowing God to search our hearts to see if there is any sinful way in us (Ps 139:23-24). But we also need celebration and joy, for “the joy of the Lord is [our] strength” (Nehemiah 8:10)!
Most of us know that we need to live the whole year in light of Easter—celebrating the Lord’s resurrection and our salvation in light of that resurrection. But “living every day as Easter” is much easier said than done.
Celebrating the Easter season over seven weeks helps us do just that. It helps us to renew our minds in light of the resurrection and make the ongoing presence of the savior in our lives a reality. It helps to make Easter part of our very lifestyle so that we can indeed continue to live in the light of Easter all year long.
© 2014 Glenn E. Myers