Another Easter come and gone. Or is it?
In the calendar shared by many Christians around the world, Easter is celebrated for fifty days, making it the longest season of the church year. (If you’re thinking “what about that endless green season in the summer and fall?”, that’s “ordinary time” or “time after Pentecost,” and it’s not usually considered a season.)
Why spend so much time on Easter? Fifty days of Easter means it will be June before we finally finish with Easter. For one thing, a LOT happened on the first Easter. We will hear Bible stories of the first Easter for several weeks. We already heard about the women who found the empty tomb, when Mary Magdalene saw the risen Lord. That same Sunday, Jesus visited with the male disciples who ran away on Thursday and Friday, offering them peace. AND on the same day, Jesus walked with two disciples on the road to Emmaus, talking and sharing a meal with them. All in one day! I get tired just thinking about it.
Maybe that’s why we need fifty days of Easter. We need extra time to let the story sink in. We need to know what Jesus did after he rose to live again: he spent time with his frightened followers. He taught. He ate. He encouraged Peter and the other disciples for the work ahead of them of building the church.
Easter doesn’t end with the resurrection. The resurrection is the beginning. It opens the doors to hope and peace. It sets Jesus free from the power of sin and death so that we can be set free, too. That’s too big for just one day!
Some Christians call themselves “Easter People,” and I think that’s a great way to describe our faith. We are shaped by the fact of Easter. We are people whose identity depends on Jesus crucified and risen. And in that Easter identity, we might still not get it all the time. The disciples were still confused sometimes. They messed up. Being Easter people doesn’t mean we get it all right all the time. It means we trust that Jesus will bring us to new life, too.
In this season of Easter, these fifty days of Easter, we are especially reminded that resurrection isn’t a one-time, one-day thing. We’re Easter people. The resurrection keeps on happening for us, sinking into our spirits one day at a time.
Jesus, let the good news of your resurrection sink into me. Let me take time to hear your story of new life and to trust that new life is for me, too. Amen.