Tomorrow culminates the Great Fifty Days of Easter, or Eastertide as I have called this very special time in the annual life of a liturgical Christian church. To luxuriate in the light from the Empty Tomb. To see Jesus astonish, rehabilitate, challenge, reveal, confirm and open. To watch those cowering disciples transform into towering Apostles. To watch Jesus return to His (sorry cann…oh you know!) Father. But no spiritual experience can remain summited forever, not on this side of the Kingdom of the Heavens! No, as Egeria noted, we must go back to daily living, but we must never go back untransformed. We are changed and changing and growing towards God’s purpose, plan and intention for our lives.
Tomorrow, we borrow a feast with a Greek name borrowed for a Jewish festival with murky Canaanite agricultural harvest origins! I’ll use a different name tomorrow! Pentecost concludes the salvific cycle initiated on 1st Advent, but then…what?! The Sunday following, which even Egeria didn’t seem to know, was designated Trinity Sunday by our Church forebears. Evidently they thought to leave the salvation cycle focusing solely upon the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, was not sufficiently reflective of the triune God so they made the first Sunday after Pentecost a celebration of Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Using this celebration as the anchor for the second half of the Christian calendar, they then launched into that exciting long summer and fall season our Roman Catholic siblings call…wait for it…anticipation building….Ordinary Time. TA-DAHHHHHH. Yep. Ordinary Time. To match that blast of ecclesiastical ebullience, we geeky Anglicans celebrate the…wait for it…oh this will be good….The Season After Pentecost! TA-WWHHAAATT??!!
To paraphrase my spiritual director Mr. James Buffett, that’s livin’ and dyin’ in Ordinary Time! Half the year spent doing the dishes, changing the oil, paying taxes, taking out the trash curbside, and exploring the parables, miracles, teachings and other vignettes Jesus shared with His (yep, I can’t) disciples. I must protest, and we are after all Anglican Protestants! Each and every Sunday, every week, every day, every moment, is beyond extraordinary.
We conclude this chapter of daily reflections tomorrow with a regular and a bonus reflection! I will ask Katie to keep these reflections up for a few weeks so anyone may review or encourage others to explore them. Then, my plan is to return for a week or so in early August as we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration of our Lord, and then shutter again until All Saints and All Soul’s Day. Of course we’ll bonus feature November 30th, another profoundly sacred day, the Feast Day of Saint Andrew patron saint of Scotland. (Oh I can hear the laments now…yes, yes, we can squeeze in Saint Olaf also!) Then, Advent, Christmas and perhaps even Epiphany Daily Reflections return in late 2020 and early 2021! We’ll walk the entire salvation cycle together in this space dear readers!
- What special insights have you gleaned from this Easter and Eastertide?
- How has this Great Fifty Days been different from previous Eastertides?
- Where is your invitation to explore, go deeper, inhabit and encounter the Risen Lord as you apprentice with Jesus through the second half of the Christian year?!