I’ve never done much Lent blogging, though I tend to get a bit more seasonally contemplative in the week leading up to Easter. I should be blogging Lent more thematically, but for a variety of reasons, this was not the year to start that tradition — although quite a number of folks asked me about it after my Advent project. Perhaps next year. In the meantime, I’ve decided to give you the preview collection of what I’ve composed for the week, which I tend to review every year.
For the record, there are twelve days to the Christmastide season… let the feasting continue! We should know this from the famous Christmas carol, yet these days most of us may just scratch our heads as to what, when, and why the twelve days are. It turns out that the 12 days song actually has some relation to a variety of theological themes. Coming to the point thought, we’ve moved out of the Advent season and into the Christmas season. In my Advent book, I have included an extra set of daily offices for use during the Christmas season… kind of a bonus for those who made the purchase. Although the Advent synchroblog has ended, the daily office and the celebration of Christmas go on. The extra office is designed to keep the Christmas themes present in our minds throughout the season. In the book, I introduced it this way:
The December issue of Next-Wave is out, with features on Advent. Bob asked me if I had something in connection with my book so I quickly dashed something off, not realizing that Advent: Resisting Christmas was going to end up as a Featured Article. Maybe I’d have put in more effort! The piece deals with rediscovering Advent as a part of reacclimatizing ourselves with the historical habits and practices of the church… like the daily office. I wrote it at the end of the first week of Advent, not realizing that the issue would be another week to release, so the prayers I mention in the article as “coming up” were for the week just passed. As we prayed through last week’s prayers, I think I’m not as happy as I could be with how the evening prayers (vespers) in particular came together, but I think there are some gems for the week we’re in now. Book sales have tapered off, probably for the year — thanks to all who made a purchase, it was a real help to our bottom line for the month. I have already thought some about a revised/expanded edition, but I’m deferring too much thought on it until the new year. I’ve still got that missional book to get back to, and I’ve arranged to trade off about half my time to an ongoing project in the next few months (more about that another time).
This week we’re remembering that Eastertide goes beyond a single Easter-Bunny weekend, and the event we’re celebrating is one that changes everything. Perhaps this would be why Bob Carlton’s Via Crucis Grid Blog runs a week past Easter to include the Stations of the Resurrection. We do well to remember that the message of Easter doesn’t expire with the chocolate.
It’s hard to keep the wonder, the surprise of knowing Jesus dead, in the ground, and waiting without knowing what would happen next. Jesus gave the cues, but of course nobody got them until after the fact. After he explained it to them… as he did to the Emmaus disciples over a bit of bread and wine. We try, but we can’t do it of course. We always know, and we don’t forget—otherwise it wouldn’t even feature on the calendar. Would Lent then become an endless season with no relief? Indeed, sometimes we already focus so much on Lent that we lose our grip on Easter. At least, that’s what Tom Wright says (HT: Si Johnston). “When Easter stops being a surprise, it stops being Easter.”
Ah yes, here we are… Easter Monday. This is the day that traditionally — at least by my exegesis of our collective Christian behaviour — we celebrate by imitation the day that Jesus went back to being dead.
Sorry, I’m just in that cynical kind of mood today… but if it’s any consolation, I include myself in that about which I’m cynical. Come, folks… if Easter really changed everything, then Easter Monday is not a business-as-usual kind of day… it’s a day for realization, for deeper understanding and for continued celebration. Perhaps this is why the church calendar flips the page at Easter into the Easter Season, or Eastertide, which lasts for seven weeks until Pentecost.
You see, everything has changed. He’s alive. He’s Alive! I’ve always loved how Don Francisco tells (sings) it from Peter’s perspective. Listen for it… it comes at 3:52 in the song, when everything changes with the realization.
What did you think they meant by “nails”?
Last week Chris Erdman posted a sermon about the anointing of Jesus at Bethany by Mary. That and other smells from aroma to odoriferous. Nicely done, a good meditation for the week.
Concerning the week ahead, Alan Creech has some brief thoughts on the cross.