The Lord has risen!
The Lord has risen indeed!
This is the traditional greeting and response used by many Christians during the Great 50 Days of Easter.
This is particularly true among liturgical Christians, including Episcopalians. For the secular world (as well as many of our Protestant sisters and brothers), the Easter season ends on Easter Sunday, much like the Christmas season ends on December 25 each year.
However, for us and others who observe the liturgical calendar, Easter begins on Easter Sunday and lasts another 49 days! Then, 50 days after Easter Sunday, we celebrate Pentecost and the Holy Spirit, just as the first Christians did almost two-thousand years ago. The word “Pentecost” comes from the Greek word meaning “fiftieth.”
But I’m getting ahead of myself. We are in the midst of Easter, when we celebrate and remember the Resurrection of Christ Jesus every day. Easter is too great an occasion to be limited to one day.
One of the ways many Episcopal churches observe the joy of Easter is to exclude the general confession during this season. This is a tradition I will observe at Epiphany. The idea is that on that first Easter Sunday, Christ overcame death. In his resurrection, we all live without sin.
While I recognize that we do continue to sin, this is a reminder that it is possible to overcome sin; not by our own actions, but by the grace of God. This is a good way to remember the meaning of Christ’s resurrection during the 50 days of Easter.
While I am not suggesting we should hide eggs every day for 50 days or eat chocolate bunnies or any of the other secular trappings of Easter, I would encourage all of us to celebrate God’s love for us that was (and is) expressed in the crucifixion and resurrection of God the Son.
So, when greeting one another, let us remember: “The Lord is risen!” Indeed!