Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Praise the Lord with the harp;
make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy.
Reflection: Easter—The Happy Beginning
By John Tillman
We return again this Easter Monday as last, to consider the challenge of N.T. Wright, in Surprised by Hope, to celebrate Easter fully. After all, Easter is not a happy ending. It is a happy beginning.
I regard it as absurd and unjustifiable that we should spend forty days keeping Lent, pondering what it means, preaching about self-denial, being at least a little gloomy, and then bringing it all to a peak with Holy Week, which in turn climaxes in Maundy Thursday and Good Friday…and then, after a rather odd Holy Saturday, we have a single day of celebration.
… Is it any wonder people find it hard to believe in the resurrection of Jesus if we don’t throw our hats in the air? Is it any wonder we find it hard to live the resurrection if we don’t do it exuberantly in our liturgies? Is it any wonder the world doesn’t take much notice if Easter is celebrated as simply the one-day happy ending tacked on to forty days of fasting and gloom? It’s long overdue that we took a hard look at how we keep Easter in church, at home, in our personal lives, right through the system. And if it means rethinking some cherished habits, well, maybe it’s time to wake up.
Easter is not the “end” but the beginning of our new, joyous life in Christ. We don’t get to go back to “normal” even if we go back to what we gave up for Lent. Normal is dead. Going back to normal means crawling back into the tomb. If we are to live in Christ, it must be a new kind of living.
If, like Cleopas, we try to find happiness and joy by going back to Emmaus, Jesus will intercept us. If, like Peter and the other disciples, we try to find fulfillment going back to fishing for fish instead of fishing for men, Jesus will call to us from the shore with breakfast cooking on a fire.
Easter is a season in the church calendar, not a day. But in our lives, it can be an evergreen season that blooms throughout the year. Let us abandon our destinations for his, and let us leap out of our boats, swimming to shore when he calls.
Let us see what the risen Christ will say to us today.
Prayer: A Reading
“Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the scriptures to us?” There they found the Eleven assembled together with their companions, who said to them, “The Lord has indeed risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then they told their story of what had happened on the road and how they had recognized hi at the breaking of bread. — Luke 24.32-35
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.
Leviticus 26 (Listen – 6:22)
Psalm 33 (Listen – 2:08)
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