The 49 days of Easter

The somber season of Lent seems to last forever (40 days, not counting the six Sundays), but the joyful season of Easter lasts even longer (49 days).  Eastertide, or the Easter Season commemorates the 40 days that the risen Christ remained on earth:

He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3)

Then comes His ascension, also considered part of Easter, and a total of nine more days when He is at the right hand of the Father.  The fiftieth day after His resurrection is Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon His Church, beginning a new season, the time of the Church.   [Read more…]

“Can there be any day but this?”


Easter
by George Herbert
    RISE heart ;  thy Lord is risen.  Sing his praise
Without delayes,
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
With him mayst rise :
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more just.Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
With all thy art.
The crosse taught all wood to resound his name
Who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.

Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song
Pleasant and long :
Or since all music is but three parts vied,
And multiplied ;
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.

I got me flowers to straw thy way ;
I got me boughs off many a tree :
But thou wast up by break of day,
And brought’st thy sweets along with thee.
Engraving
The Sunne arising in the East,
Though he give light, and th’ East perfume ;
If they should offer to contest
With thy arising, they presume.

Can there be any day but this,
Though many sunnes to shine endeavour ?
We count three hundred, but we misse :
There is but one, and that one ever.

Source: George Herbert. Easter.

United with him in a death and resurrection like his

The son of a dear couple in our church died suddenly.  He was 34.  His funeral was on Good Friday.  What a conjunction of thoughts and emotions!

There is nothing like a traditional Lutheran funeral service for comfort:  It is all about Christ, full of His Word and His promises, a strong staff to lean on.

One of the many Scriptural passages we meditated on made the connection between what happened to Jesus on Good Friday and Easter and, through baptism, what happens to us:

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:3-5)

So on Good Friday we can contemplate our death in Christ’s death.  And on Easter we can contemplate our resurrection in Christ’s resurrection.

Today is Good Friday AND Annunciation

The reader and commenter known only as ngb informed me of today’s special conjunction:
In case you all haven’t realized it, this year is a special one with regards to Holy Week. Good Friday falls on the Feast of the Annunciation—March 25—which nicely ties Jesus’ conception and birth together with his death.
Good Friday last fell on March 25 in 2005, and it won’t fall on the 25th again until 2157, so this will be the last time these two feasts coincide in our lifetimes.
So today marks both the day that Jesus was conceived of the Virgin Mary–the beginning of the Incarnation of the Son of God–AND the day of His atoning sacrifice for the sins of the world.  The two events are inextricably linked, of course, and today they come together.

[Read more…]

“Was ever grief like mine?”

Read George Herbert’s “The Sacrifice,” a poem from the perspective of Christ on the Cross, quoted and linked after the jump.  Do you see how it influenced the beloved Lenten hymn “My Song Is Love Unknown”?  (Throw in Herbert’s poem Love Unknown and you’ve pretty much got the whole hymn.) [Read more…]

“Which my God feel as blood; but I, as wine”

Today is Maundy Thursday, arguably the climax of our Lord’s earthly ministry, the day He washed His disciple’s feet, gave them the mandate (thus, “maundy”) to love one another, instituted the Sacrament of Holy Communion, experienced agony in the garden, gave His high priestly prayer for his disciples and for all who would later believe (us), was betrayed, arrested, scourged, and abandoned.

After the jump, one of my favorite poems, by George Herbert, a Maundy Thursday/Good Friday poem that brings together many of these themes in an unforgettable way.  (I’ve posted it here before, but it is worth re-reading at this time of year over and over.) [Read more…]


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