The Great Feast
Easter is not one day, but 50!! The ancient church calendar calls these 50 days “Eastertide.” Eastertide begins on Easter day and ends with Pentecost, the day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the beginning of the Church.
For many communities, the church calendar is used to help disciple new believers and strengthen the faith of those who have been walking with Jesus for a while. Lent is a season for new followers of Jesus to learn the basics of their faith and prepare for baptism. During this time, the community fasts and prays for these new disciples. The purpose of the 50-day Easter season is to continue the faith formation of these new believers by building an understanding of the church’s mission through the study of the Book of Acts.
Often, this extended season of Easter gives the church community time to celebrate, enjoy, and experience what it means to say that Christ is risen. This is a good time to reflect on your own entrance into the Kingdom of God. It is a good time to ponder the birth of the church, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and the call to live as a disciple of Christ.
Communal feasting is a big part of Eastertide. Jesus says that those who mourn will be comforted. Lent is a somber season; we are invited to reflect on the death of Christ and our sin. But Easter is time of celebration: Jesus defeated death and sin! The Resurrection is the liberating event in human history. We now have freedom to live as new creatures in Christ. We must not resist being comforted. Therefore, Eastertide traditionally revolves around eating big, celebratory meals and inviting friends to join you.
Group feasting isn’t especially practical during this time of Covid -19, so we’ll have to get creative about this. One example might be the way my wife has been making cakes for each day of the week leading up to my birthday, and I have enjoyed distributing pieces of cake to friends and neighbors. In many traditions, the 7 weeks of Eastertide contain feasts connected to various saints. However, I think we might celebrate feasts based on values of the Gospel that we pursue as a church:
April 19 – The Feast of Community
April 26 – The Feast of Accessibility
May 3 – The Feast of Authenticity
May 10 – The Feast of the Disciplines
May 17 – The Feast of Truth
May 24 – The Feast of Creativity
May 30 – The Feast of Pentecost
How are you going to celebrate the season of Eastertide? What feasts might you cook up?
We are an Easter people! Let’s consider how to celebrate that fact during these coming weeks.