I have already noted in the April preaching schedule that Easter is a season, and not a day. We have a lot of Eastering to do this year, in as much as we have been Lenting for more than twelve months now. As we have already reminded ourselves, we are not yet out of this long, dark Covid tunnel; but the light at the end is getting brighter. We hope and expect that the Easter season will include, not only longer daylight hours, but also the fulfilling of some of the longings pent-up in our hearts, minds, and bodies.
I try as much as possible to use words other than Easter when talking about this time. Easter is not a biblical word. Two ideas about its origin predominate. 1) Christians borrow it from the name of a pre-Christian English goddess, Eostre, who presided over the resurgence of daylight in the spring of the year. 2) The title shows up early in Germany, rooted in the word for east (ost), where the sun rises. As the sun rose, Jesus’ disciples went to and found the empty tomb. Both origins ring true to the message of the day/season. I prefer referring to the day as the Celebration of the Resurrection and the weeks after as the Season of the Resurrection. Too long for calendars and cards, however. So I will have to endure the use of Easter.
Resurrection by definition is about hope and new life and fresh opportunities. Just like spring. We will take memories of Lent, 2020 to our dying days. I hope that recollections of Easter, 2021 will overshadow and overpower those dark, Lenten remembrances. A year from now, or maybe only six months, we will confirm whether this is true or not. I so HOPE it comes to be!
Whatever the extent of it, this year’s Season of the Resurrection will unveil hints of the new things that will be going on around Third Church. Your Pastor Nominating Committee will not complete its work before Pentecost begins on May 23rd, but a whole bunch of their busiest activities will be fully underway by then. Your program staff has already begun envisioning what Third Church will become, post-Covid; and Session and other church groups will be invited into the wondering process. Although I issue no guarantees or promises on this matter, in-person worship in some form may be resurrected during the season. That would bring joy to many a heart!
I remain anxiously hopeful for the weeks ahead. I know that many of you join me in that crowd. We are Easter People, after all!