Weekly Reflection - 4/11/2023
St. Mary's Reflection: The Rev. Kira Austin-Young, Associate Rector
A Guide to Observing The Great Fifty Days of Easter
Alleluia! Christ is Risen! After forty days of Lent and the intensity of Holy Week, we celebrate Easter Sunday, the culmination of the Christian liturgical calendar joyously with its lilies, brass band, and shouts of “Alleluia!” Collectively, we observe Lent by taking on a practice, spending extra time in prayer or reading Scripture, giving alms, or giving something up during this period of fasting, and then Easter comes, our fast is ended, and we go back to business as usual. But, like Christmas, Easter is not just a day but a whole season, fifty days long - ten more days than we spent fasting! No matter how your Lent went, Easter offers us a mirror opportunity to practice feasting in celebration of God’s grace and abundance in the resurrection of Jesus.
As part of our Lenten fast, we cover up the crosses in church and don’t use fresh flowers on the altar; likewise, feasting during Eastertide can be multi-sensory and a part of your everyday routine. Purchase fresh flowers for your house once a week. Use the “nice” dishes or table linens that you normally reserve for special occasions. Light a candle every night in your favorite scent. Go to a concert. Make it a goal to compliment one stranger each day. Write a letter or call a friend once a week. In the words of Wendell Berry, “Practice resurrection.” One of my personal Eastertide practices is to order sparkling wine or champagne when I go out. It’s a little silly but it’s hard not to be in a celebratory mood with a glass of bubbles in hand, and what is worth celebrating more than the triumph of the power of God’s love over death?
There is no shortage of worry, anger, fear, and sadness in the world, but we Christians are an Easter people grounded in the knowledge and hope that, to quote writer Anne Lamott, “love bats last,” death does not get the final word. We celebrate that we, too, are raised to everlasting life with Jesus in our baptisms. The battle has been won. Eastertide is the perfect time to deliberately and intentionally practice joy and delight in the small things, so that when we encounter big challenges, we are able to respond from a place of peace.
Observing the whole fifty days of Easter is an invitation to remember that God desires our flourishing and fulfillment, to the point that God, through Christ, conquered death, our last enemy. God is making all things new. The past does not define our future. Alleluia!
The Rev. Kira Austin-Young,