Well, the Day of Resurrection is past for another year. Yes, I said the Day of Resurrection…not Easter. You see, we are now in the Easter season.
As I have said before, I realize that many things that are for me right now great big AHA moments, well, a lot of you may already know. And if this is old hat to you, well, I apologize, but I’m just discovering this new way of being. Yes, I have noticed in the Lectionary cycle that, just as with Christmas, there are Sundays that followed what I always called “Easter” and that those Sundays were labelled “Second Sunday of Easter”, etc. But I didn’t truly comprehend the meaning…until now.
To the rescue again, Sr. Joan Chittister and her book The Liturgical Year. Okay, I have had a lot of reading to do and I haven’t been keeping up with my liturgical seasons in this book, so, Monday, with some time available to read what I wanted to read rather than what I should be reading, well, I picked it up and started the season over again with the chapter on Ash Wednesday. I accidently landed on the chapter about the Day’s of Pentecost instead. I learned that Pentecost is also a day of recognition in Judaism, being the end of the Jewish Feast of Weeks (the seven weeks following Passover). And I learned that, since the 4th century, the 50 days between the Day of Resurrection and Pentecost, known by some as Eastertide or Paschaltide became known as the Great 50 Days, a time of great loss and sorrow, but also a time of great witness and the knowledge that Jesus was with us still and that Resurrection was real. We are not lost; we are not alone; we need not wonder anymore.
And I ask myself, being one so steeped in Lenten practice and meditation, and Advent practice and meditation, why is there no “practice” for this season? Why do we not, as a church and a community of faith, embrace this season with the same fervor with which we approach Lent? Is it harder for us to embrace the Resurrection and all that it means than it is for us to embrace our pain and our failings? Perhaps.
I have not yet decided what a Paschaltide practice would look like for me, but I am going to think about it. And I’m going to create one. If you have ideas, I would love to hear them. But with this new perspective, I am determined that the next 50 days won’t simply be filled with all of the fun and frivolity that I might have felt inapporpriate during Lent.
Last year, on the day of Pentecost, I was licensed. That caused me to be involved in a thoughtful process throughout the Easter season, as I worked with my committe and did my own preparation. I want to reach the day of Pentecost again this year thoughtful and with intention.