Luke 24: 13-49
There are forty days of Lent. If you observe the Christian calendar, you have just completed walking through this rich and challenging season. Perhaps you gave up something, or added a spiritual discipline in order to align yourself more with the story and journey of Christ to the cross and into the grave. And now we are on the other side. We rejoice in the unbelievable truth of his resurrection.
Many Christians are not aware that there are actually fifty days of Easter – a season historically celebrated as Eastertide. The church, and even our culture, are generally well-adjusted to the idea of Lent – of a season of intentional fasting or rigorous reorientation. But why?
But I reiterate: there are fifty days of Easter – more days marked for celebration than for difficulty. More time set aside for feasting than for fasting. Yet most of our Christian communities mark a single day – Easter Sunday, and then we are back to our ordinary lives. Why would the historic celebrations of the church have lasted fifty days? Perhaps it was the magnitude of what had just happened.
Outward from the Center
A friend of mine preached a sermon on Sunday that helped me realize that as we read through the different accounts of Christ’s resurrection found in the gospels, we see that Jesus’ followers came to hear the good news and to believe at different stages. John believed immediately upon seeing the empty tomb. Peter was perplexed and went away “wondering to himself what had happened.” Others understood after a long journey to Emmaus, as Jesus recounted the entire story of salvation to them, only to be recognized when he broke bread with them in their home. Still others saw him eat fish and realized he really was a living human again. Thomas needed to touch his wounds to believe.
Whether or not your church community marks Easter as a season, I would encourage you to walk through the post-resurrection narratives intentionally during the next 50 days – ask the Holy Spirit to create ripples of deeper belief in your own heart and mind. And don’t forget to celebrate! I’m going to go get another piece of chocolate…
Shannon Steed Sigler is a community artist, curator, and theologian. She also serves as the Director of Social Media Communications for BeADisciple.com. Shannon is the mother of a creative four-year-old and the wife of a liturgical scholar. Her own work and research center around a Wesleyan paradigm for the visual arts. Visit her website here.
Main post image by Sergiu Bacioiu from Romania (Water Drop – Explored) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons