An Easter Reflection

posted Apr 23, 2014, 11:20 AM by Unknown user

    Since I provided Lenten reflections to guide us through Lent, it would be inappropriate to not follow those up with Easter reflections. We’ve gone through the soul-searching and fasting that is Lent. But now, Christ is risen! We had a wonderful service celebrating the risen Jesus last Sunday. But now what? What sort of impact is this resurrection supposed to make on my day to day life?

    The best work that I’ve come across on this subject is a book by Anglican scholar N.T. Wright entitled “Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church.” In this book Wright emphasizes how what we hope for in the future should deeply impact how we live today. I want to provide you with snippet from this book, discussing the church’s mission in light of the resurrection, and how Easter should be molding our life. I would love for you to share your thoughts on the matter.

            “But my biggest problem starts on Easter Monday. I regard it as absurd and unjustifiable that we should spend forty days keeping Lent, pondering what it means, preaching about self-denial, being at least a little gloomy, and then bringing it all to a peak with Holy Week, which in turn climaxes in Maundy Thursday and Good Friday… and then, after a rather odd Holy Saturday, we have a single day of celebration.

            All right, the Sundays after Easter still lie within the Easter Season. We still have Easter readings and hymns during them. But Easter week itself ought not to be the time when all the clergy sigh with relief and go on holiday. It ought to be eight-day festival, with champagne served after morning prayer or even before, with lots of alleluias and extra hymns and spectacular anthems. Is it any wonder people find it hard to believe in the resurrection of Jesus if we don’t throw our hats in the air? Is it any wonder we find it hard to live the resurrection if we don’t do it exuberantly in our liturgies? Is it any wonder the world doesn’t take much notice if Easter is celebrated as simply the one-day happy ending tacked on to forty days of fasting and gloom? … We shouldn’t allow the secular world, with its schedules and habits and parareligious events, its cute Easter bunnies, to blow us off course. This is our greatest day. We should put the flags out.

            In particular, if Lent is a time to give things up, Easter ought to be a time to take things up. Champagne for breakfast again—well of course. Christian holiness was never meant to be merely negative. Of course you have to weed the garden from time to time… That’s Lent for you. But you don’t want simply to turn the garden back into a neat bed of blanket earth. Easter is the time to sow new seeds and to plant out a few cuttings… Easter should mean planting, watering, and training up things in your life (personal and corporate) that ought to be blossoming, filling the garden with color and perfume, and in due course bearing fruit. The forty days of the Easter season, until the ascension, ought to be a time to balance out Lent by taking something up, some new task or venture, something wholesome and fruitful and outgoing and self-giving… If you really make a start on it, it might give you a sniff of new possibilities, new hopes, new ventures you never dreamed of. It might bring something of Easter into your innermost life. It might help you wake up in a whole new way. And that’s what Easter is all about.”

So, who’s bringing the champagne on Sunday?

Source: Wright, N.T. Surprised By Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church. New York: Harper One, 2008. Pp.256-257

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