By Bren Dubay
Easter is beautiful at Koinonia. The sunrise service, the celebratory breakfast that follows and the fun activities that fill our day, but it doesn’t stop when Sunday goes away. Easter continues. I like that.
In much of the Western Christian Church, the Easter Season lasts for 50 days — from the resurrection of Jesus to the ascension of Jesus celebrated on Pentecost Sunday. In the Eastern Christian Church, it’s 40 days, a significant stretch of time as well.
Not all denominations follow a liturgical calendar, but I find doing so helpful. There is Advent, a time of preparation followed by the great season of Christmas. There is Lent, another time of preparation culminating in the greatest season of all, Easter. Each season gives us the chance to immerse ourselves in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, while giving ample time to focus more deeply on one aspect or time period of his life.
Koinonian Norris Harris often breaks open the word Christian for us. He points out that the “ians” is a suffix and yes, it denotes “followers” of Christ, but it is much richer and deeper because it is calling us to be “Christ like.” Christians are to be “Christ like.” We are to strive day in and day out in all that we do to be Christ like. That is a bit intimidating. It is also a lot of work … but when we look at it step by step, mile by mile, it can feel perhaps more manageable.
If I decide to be a marathon runner, I don’t just get up one morning, strap on my tennis shoes, and go out and run 26.2 miles. I work at it. It’s a day in and day out discipline. Likewise, I can claim the word Christian, but if I am not daily doing all I can to live it, it’s an empty title. Following the liturgical calendar helps me stay focused. It helps me stay immersed in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and can constantly remind me that a life rooted in those four events — especially the last one — looks different than a life rooted in anything else our culture has to offer.
The liturgical calendar constantly turns my face toward Jesus. Hopefully, my mind and my heart follow. It gives me ample time to meditate on the mysteries of the Incarnation. We are used to four seasons — winter, spring, summer and fall — and know well the rhythms of them. To know Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter seems far more important than, though helpful and important, knowing the weather.
Easter is a marathon, not a sprint. Easter is a long walk, not a few hours on a Sunday in spring. So, too, is the Christian life. There are many tools that can help us stay focused and keep putting one foot in front of the other.