Many of us are in full swing in preparing for Easter. For most churches it is still one of the ‘big” Sundays with all kinds of special plans being made to welcome the community into our church homes. Yet all this extra preparation often takes a personal toll on leaders and teams, and this creates a tension. The tension is how can one enter the Easter season personally prepared and/or how can the impact of Easter can be extended in one's life. Consider these two approaches from church tradition: Lent and Eastertide.
Lent is a season for 40 days that leads up to Easter. It’s practice (traced back to at least the second century) originally prepared converts for baptism through a period of fasting and contemplation on the cross. The practice eventually included all believers as a season of fasting, self-sacrifice, service, generosity, and prayer that prepares us for the celebration of the Resurrection. The time period of 40 days has its basis in Jesus’ time in the wilderness. This may lead one to incorporate a time of solitude and contemplation during the lenten season. This is a radical departure to the busy-ness of the Easter seasons activities, but one that may allow us to know Him more deeply, as Paul writes in Philippians 3:10, “in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings…”
Eastertide is a much less known season in the church. It is the period of 50 days that occurs between Easter and Pentecost. This spiritual discipline invites one to live in the miracle of the resurrection. Its focus is on forgiveness, servanthood, kindness, and justice. The thought is that in the intentional practice of these things we acknowledge "the power of God at work when He raised Christ form the dead…” (Ephesians 1:20) and that He “has made us alive….and raised us up with him…” as a show of the richness of His grace in kindness towards us (Ephesians 2:5-7). In this way, we intentionally prepare ourselves for a fresh release of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
As we prepare for Easter, let’s not only prepare our facilities and programs. As servants, let us prepare ourselves for the celebration that come with and as a result of the resurrection.
Information about Lent:
Bog Post: “Three Reasons Why Evangelicals Observe Lent” by Christopher Hunt - https://today.reframemedia.com/blog/three-good-reasons-why-more-evangelicals-observe-lent
Recommended Reading: The Good of Giving-Up, by Aaron Damiani -
Lent has been described as a “springtime for the soul,” a season of clearing to make room for growth. The Good of Giving Up will show you why, encouraging you to participate in what many know as a rich spiritual journey.
Information on Eastertide (and Pentecost tradition)
Recommended Reading (article): "Celebrating Easter for Fifty Days” by Mark D. Roberts - https://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php/217611.pdf
Blog Post: “How You Can Prep for Pentecost” by Jack Levison - https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jack-levison/how-to-prepare-for-pentec_b_9913294.html