Tuesday, April 13, 2010

BEN :Easter Sunday, a feast day more accurately entitled . . . .

Easter Sunday, a feast day more accurately entitled, The Sunday of the Resurrection, has marked the beginning of our Great 50 Days — the days between the empty tomb and the almost indescribable experience of Pentecost and of the institution of the Church itself.

The Great 50 Days sounds more like an invitation-only golf tournament to me. A game where only a select number of the greatest men and women who have ever held a metal stick in hopes of swinging it at just the right angle to hit a ridiculously small, pitted ball sitting atop an overgrown toothpick toward an impossibly small hole far away, a hole in the ground that offers nothing more than a chance to advance to the next hole only to do it all over again. ( Perhaps one day I will understand the depth and breadth of this activity some call a sport. We who run miles every day, for no apparent reason have something to say on such matters. )

Nevertheless, the Great 50 Days is one of the things I love most about the Easter season. While American Evangelical Protestant Christianity seals this season into a one day segment, easy for storage until the following year, those who have cared for and participated in the path of the ancients know that the Easter we have just observed is only the beginning of some seven weeks of reflection on the life and death and life of Jesus — a reflection that can now be seen through the lens of the resurrected Christ.

Whatever happened during Lent seems inconsequential next to the what was given to us when the empty tomb became the center of Christianity and Jesus became the Christ. This miracle of all miracles sets the tone for a life that does not end, in the same way that the rising and setting of the sun sets the frame for a life into which we have been given.

Life becomes death, only to become life again.

There is enough tension between the confidence of life and the chaos of dying and the misery of returning to dust and the mystery of rising again to keep us clinging to our prayer, clinging in the hope that we might make our way through this life even as we wait for our own resurrection, the miracle that will take us to the life that does not end.

Alleluia — Christ is Risen.
The Lord is Risen indeed. Alleluia.


Unknown said...


I say that on behalf of the American Evangelical Protestant Christian community that shares the long pew with you.


And, I say it as a woman baptized and confirmed in the Episcopal church.

We must choose our words more carefully.

I have spent the last several months editing and participating in a Bible study of the book of Acts--the very book that tells of the Great 50 Days. I feel frustrated and somewhat offended to be told that the church I attend has sealed "this season into a one day segment, easy for storage until the following year..." Really?

As a woman who has done her best to bridge the gap and misunderstandings between the catholic and evangelical traditions, I just want to let you know that what you said hurt, and in turn, took my attention from what I believe you really wanted us to share together: the joy and the promise of the empty tomb.

He is Risen. Yea, He is Risen indeed.

robert benson and ben stroup said...

Thank you for reading and engaging in this conversation with us. My apologies if I offended you. Sounds like the part of the pew you are coming from is different from what I have experienced. This is the rub of a writer in that I am limited by my own experience.

My goal, as is Robert's, is to provide a place that brings the Body of Christ together, not create more division.

I hope that my words will not keep you from reading and commenting when you are prompted from within to do so.

Grace and peace, Ben.

emily said...

As a woman who attends a non-denominational charismatic church I bristled a little at the line, but came back here to read this again and make an affirming comment.

There's some truth in that line and it's limiting. But, mostly I just resonated very much with what you wrote, Ben. Especially the last couple of paragraphs. I was invited to preach last weekend at my church and talked a little about grave time. The fact that Jesus didn't go from the cross straight to heaven. He may have lived his cycle once so far, but we humans live it over and over again. And even though I don't attend a liturgical church we're still asking what does it mean to live the Easter season and not just a day? Same goes for Christmas.

Thank you for your thoughts and writing them down.

robert benson and ben stroup said...

"What does it mean to live the Easter season and not just a day?" is a very appropriate question that I am living into myself.

I'm delighted we are having this dialogue. May God continue to unfold for us the mystery of our faith as we walk this journey together.

Thanks be to God!