Eastertide

“Easter” is the period of eight Sundays [until Pentecost], comprising fifty days, often called as a unit “the Great Fifty Days.” For the explosive force of the resurrection of the Lord is too vast to be contained within a celebration of one day.

Easter is not one closing day at the end of a lengthy period of Lent. Easter is one extended rejoicing in the resurrection that more than exceeds in length the Lenten disciplines. The first day of the season, Easter Day, is the opening of a protracted celebration, even as the Resurrection is itself the opening to a vast new reality.

“The First Sunday After Easter” implies Easier is over, having lasted only one day. But “the Second Sunday of Easter” (for the same date) indicates that Easter is an extended season, whose essential character is shared by all of its parts.

–-Laurence Stookey, Calendar: Christ’s Time for the Church, 54, 56-7

He Is Risen!

Many active Christians would say that Christmas is their chief festival. Closer to the mark, but still missing it, are those who would say that Easter Day is the principal feast of the church. What is amiss about such assessments? Simply this: No observance that occurs only once a year can connote the continuing work of God in daily life. Therefore the chief festival occurs weekly, and from it all else is derived, including those annual festivities that may be more visible and certainly are the more popular cultural occasions. . . . It has become a maxim of late that “every Sunday is a little Easter.’” But it would be more accurate to say that “every Easter is a great Sunday.”

—Laurence Stookey, Calendar: Christ’s Time for the Church, 44,54

Primary Theology

The life of worship embodies what is called primary theology. Believers express their fundamental beliefs, in the first instance, not be explaining them in propositions but by embodying them in devotional acts—prayer, praise, Bible study, and so on. Theological reflection developed by theologians and studied in theology classes is secondary theology, which usually takes the shape of a critical and systematic reflection on the worshiping life of God’s people as they read Scripture together. If this is true, the teaching of the church, what is called doctrine (literally, “what is taught”), finds its first and fundamental expression in the liturgy—in the worship of God’s people.

—William A. Dyrness, A Primer on Christian Worship, 74