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…]

A fine video on “What Is Lent?”

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Giving up something for Lent

There is a great piece on Lent in the Federalist by my friend Todd Peperkorn. He makes an excellent case for the helpfulness of giving stuff up during Lent, especially in this day and age.  He does more than that, though, so read it all, linked and excerpted after the jump. [Read more…]

“Why We Don’t Do Ashes on Ash Wednesday”

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  I love the rite of the imposition of ashes, when the pastor marks our foreheads with the sign of the cross made in ashes, with the words “You are dust, and to dust you shall return.”  We need to remember that fact.

But what I want to post for the occasion is a classic piece by Rev. William Cwirla from a few years ago, on “Why We Don’t Do Ashes on Ash Wednesday.”  It’s not what you might expect.  It’s a different kind of remembrance of death, and a reflection on the pastor’s vocation.  He even goes deeper into the symbolism in a way that will help those who do “do ashes on Ash Wednesday.”

UPDATE:  Don’t get me wrong.  Most of us Lutherans do impose ashes.  See this rejoinder to Rev. Cwirla’s piece from Rev. David Petersen, via Trent David.
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A video for Lent

Concordia Publishing House has put together an excellent video explaining what Lent is all about.   See it after the jump. [Read more…]

Lenten reading

One of my customary Lenten observances is always to read some heavy-duty theology or some deep, deep classics of devotion.  Over the years, I’ve read works by Augustine, Aquinas, Luther, and more modern theologians like Oswald Bayer.  Last year I read Martin Chemnitz, The Two Natures of Christ to my great benefit.  Another year, I read something much, much easier, but even more beneficial:  John Kleinig’s Grace Upon Grace.

I’m kind of undecided about what I will take up this year. Do you have any suggestions?  For me, but also for other readers of this blog?  (My criteria after the jump.) [Read more…]