A Message from Pastor John
If you’ve got an eye for detail, you may notice that the Sunday bulletins refer to the “Second Sunday in Easter” (and “Third Sunday in Easter,” and so on). I’ve got to admit, I always used to see “First Sunday AFTER Easter”… at least until we got to Pentecost Sunday. I’d long understood that Easter was a single day, and then we just entered into a fifty-day period of celebrating the Resurrection miracle until we then celebrated the descent of the Holy Spirit to inaugurate the beginning of Christ’s church.
But, just as we celebrate Christ’s incarnation over twelve days from sundown on Christmas Eve through Epiphany as the Christmas Season, Christmastide, or the Twelve Days of Christmas, we also acknowledge the time between the Day of Resurrection and Pentecost (or Shavuot or the Feast of Weeks) as Eastertide or the Easter Season.
Although we share much joy in Christmas, with family gatherings and the exchanging of gifts, we should find our greatest joy in the celebration of the Easter Season. Coming through the shadowy darkness of Lent and Holy Week, we have the opportunity to express the incredible hope God brings to the world through Jesus’ death and resurrection. This hope of renewed, everlasting life and the in-breaking of God’s eternal reign over all creation lies at the center of the Good News that Jesus commissioned us to embody and proclaim throughout the world.
Mark Roberts suggests a few questions and scripture verses for reflection during this season of renewal:
- What Jesus’ resurrection tells us about his being the Righteous One of God (Ps. 16:10, Acts 2:25-28).
- How death has been swallowed up in victory (1 Cor. 15:54-56).
- How Jesus’ resurrection can be seen as a precursor of our own (1 Cor. 15).
- How the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available today (Eph. 1:15-23).
- How the resurrection gives us “new birth into a living hope” (1 Peter 1:3).
As we continue to gather for celebratory worship and fellowship, may we continue to be renewed and find new ways to share our hope as Easter People.
A Prayer for Eastertide (Adapted from the Book of Common Prayer)
Almighty God, for our redemption you gave your only begotten Son to suffer death upon the Cross, and by Jesus’ glorious resurrection he has delivered us from the power of our enemy. May we, who celebrate with great joy the resurrection of our Lord, be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit. Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may for evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection, empowered and transformed by your grace in and among us.
O Lord, so stir up within your church, indeed in each of us, that Spirit of adoption and reconciliation that is enabled by your grace revealed in Jesus the Christ, that we, being renewed in both body and mind, may worship and serve you in sincerity and truth. We pray this in the name of the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for evermore. Amen.
Be blessed, that you may be a blessing to others,