Easter, a season of seven Sundays

Published 10:00 am Thursday, April 26, 2018

One of the young ladies who comes to worship with us was puzzled recently about all of the talk about Easter since we are now way past April 1. “I thought Easter was just one day. Why are we still talking about it?”

My guess is that a lot of people think the same way.

In our faith tradition Easter is not just one day. It is a season of seven Sundays leading up to the Day of Pentecost; the day that marks the giving of the Holy Spirit (this year, May 20). It’s seven Sundays to reflect on the resurrection, not as an abstract principle but as a way of life, and a way of moving through life. The beauty of resurrection is too wonderful to be kept to just one Sunday.

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However a writer in one of our denominational magazines pointed out something that I have felt for a long time. Easter may be a season, but there are a lot of people who still live in Good Friday. A lot of us hang on to death as if it is the last word. We obsess about the shortness of life. We haven’t gotten over the loss of a loved one, no matter how many years have gone by. We still mourn the breakup of a marriage, the disruption of a cherished relationship or the termination of a job. We grieve over many things and hang on to them, maybe because we are afraid of what will happen if we let go.

I have experienced personally and have worked with many people in dealing with grief. There is a danger in cutting it too short, in not letting it do its work with us so we can grow. But we can also hang on to our losses too much; we can keep rehashing and reliving and re-dying our losses to the point where our lives are experienced through the rear view mirror. But Easter comes anyway.

The women were amazed and ran from the empty tomb in fear. The disciples thought the women were crazy when they heard that Jesus was alive. Doubts ran through their heads, even with the resurrected Christ right in front of them. There is something about us that resists resurrection. But God gives it anyway.

There is a pattern to our existence: Life, death, resurrection. We experience death all the time. No doubt about it. But, also without a doubt, God always moves us toward transformation, always toward new life. It may happen in these seven weeks, it may happen later on. But no matter how devastating your deaths are, God is always moving you toward Easter, and the new life it brings. No matter what time of year.

REV. DR. TOM ROBINSON is pastor of Farmville Presbyterian Church. His email address is robin216@embarqmail.com.