Easter was amazing this year … but what is next? On Tuesday as several of our pastors and ministry leaders gathered to reflect upon how Easter weekend has gone, our director of Spiritual Formation, Gail Edmonson (aka, my wife or the boss) took a moment to help all of us think more deeply about the resurrection and living a life that celebrates the resurrection beyond just a single day or weekend. She introduced us to “Eastertide,” which is the period of 50 days, spanning from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. This year Eastertide will end on May 23rd, which is Pentecost Sunday - commemorating the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2. Eastertide is celebrated as a single joyful feast, called the "great Lord's Day." Each Sunday of the season is treated as a Sunday of Easter.
If you grew up Catholic or Orthodox, you may have practiced Eastertide or in other places, it is called Paschaltide, paschal referring to the Passover. But for our focus, it is a reminder that the power of the resurrection, the promise of the resurrection, and the presence of the resurrection lives on in our lives after this one day where we celebrate our Lord’s resurrection. Paul wrote in Romans 8:11, “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
The Spirit raised Jesus and the Spirit dwells in you ... and will give life. This promise is clearly focused on our own resurrection, but it is also true every day of our lives. The very power of the resurrection is in you and me as followers of Jesus Christ. What does that mean? Paul wrote Philippians 3:10-12 “that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” We live this life in a way that embodies the truth of the resurrection.
Resurrection Power begins at the cross. It is when you and I die to ourselves. So every day as we die to sin, we live into the power of the resurrection for through Christ, we have overcome sin, death and the grave. Resurrection Power continues through our formation as we are being conformed into the image of Christ. Out transformation is a result of the resurrection power of the Spirit that is at work within us. Paul continues in Romans 8:12-13 “So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
Next Step: Read Romans 8. Spend time reflecting upon the richness of all that there is in this chapter about death, life, growth, change, transformation, power, and more. How is it that God would have you live the next 50 days - and beyond - in the power of the resurrection?
Happy, glorious and wonderful Eastertide to you!
– Pastor Jerry