Easter is not a day. Easter, or Eastertide, is a season. It lasts from Easter Sunday until the Day of Pentecost, which occurs 50 days after Easter. The fifty days between Easter and Pentecost on the Christian calendar was developed as a season of discipleship for new converts to learn what it meant to be a disciple of Christ and about the Christian life. The early leaders of the faith used this time to explain the mysteries of the faith to the newly baptized, and to encourage those already in the faith to discern their spiritual gifts and to strengthen themselves and others through ministries. During Eastertide we read several stories of how the resurrected Christ appeared to a number of different people and how those people responded. For example, this week we read about how Jesus appeared to his disciples on the evening that the empty tomb was discovered.
Eastertide is not only about the resurrection of Christ, but also about the resurrection of our lives. It is a season to remember that power that raised Christ from the dead can also cause us to live lives of victory in this world. I want to encourage you during the fifty days of Eastertide to explore the resurrection of Jesus Christ in particular, especially in terms of what it means for believers and their ongoing life in Christ. It is no wonder that Christians are called believers. We believe that a man died and came back to life! But that is not all that we believe, we believe that the man, Christ Jesus, was God in the flesh and that because God loved us so much he came to earth to have fellowship with us and then die for our sins! Whoa! That is some heavy stuff. Yet we believe. The Lectionary gospel text for the second Sunday of Easter highlights the mystery of our faith. In response to the doubts of Thomas the disciple, Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” John 20:29
Christians believe Jesus came to this earth to deliver a message from God that is so true that it applies for all time and is relevant for all people. It is, for us, an eternal message.
And what is this message from God that Jesus Christ came to share? Simply that God loves us.
- God does not want to punish people, but to be reconciled with them.
- God does not want to hurt people, but to heal them.
- God does not want to pass judgment upon people, but to give them grace.
There is no such thing as Easter Day. Easter is about the resurrection, renewal of life and hope. Because Eastertide is the Christian confession that is that Jesus is God made flesh, and that through his death and resurrection we can have new life, not just for a season but all year long. This is more than just good news, this is amazing grace. We are loved and forgiven by God, therefore we can forgive others.
Live, Love and Forgive
Your is Christ,