Easter is not a single day. It is a season, beginning on Easter Day and continuing for seven full weeks. This seven-week cycle is known historically as the Great Fifty Days, or the Week of Weeks. During this time, the Church celebrates the Lord’s resurrection, his appearances to the disciples, his post-resurrection teachings, his ascension into heaven, and the coming of the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, on the Day of Pentecost. In the early Church, from Easter Eve until Pentecost: there was no fasting; Christians were to pray standing; the word “alleluia” was said or sung repeatedly. Baptisms and weddings, suspended during Lent, begin again. Vestments and hangings are white and gold. Flowers are abundant and colorful. The Book of Common Prayer notes that the Paschal candle, the light of Christ, is to burn at all services, and the “Alleluia. Alleluia” returns to responses and dismissals.
The Good Book Club, led by our presiding bishop and also by our Bishop Russell, read through the gospel of Luke during Lent. I have followed this discipline every day and have found that it brings joy and inspiration and consolation to know every day that I am sharing the gospel experience with thousands of other Episcopalians. The good news is that this won’t end on Easter Day, either. The Good Book Club will continue through the Fifty Days of Easter, reading together through the book of Acts. Resources will be online, and there is even another poster, which those of you on our mailing list received in your Lenten mailer. More of these are available on our ministry table in the Chapter House. I hope to include some reflections and questions and suggestions on our reading in this space during the Great Fifty Days.
“Alleluia. Christ is risen.” I look forward to seeing you on the Day of the Resurrection.