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Lent prepares for Easter – yeah right!

Rio Carnival
Rio Carnival

We say, piously, that the season of Lent prepares us for the season of Easter. Yeah – right! (wry smile – sarcastic tone)

Parishes and Christian communities and groups gathered religiously during Lent for deep reflection, extra services, study groups,… Individuals gave up things, gave more away, took up extra disciplines, read more,… And all for what? Well: “to prepare for the Season of Easter” would be the practiced reply.

Well here we are only in the second week of the Season of Easter – in fact only the 13th day of Easter and I’m willing to bet an Easter egg or two that for most the enthusiasm for this season is already waning. It was much easier being penitential and reflective and all-round “preparing” than it is celebrating what we have been preparing for!

I bet (more Easter eggs) that you will be hard pressed to find services this coming Sunday (only the 15th day of Easter) still booming as their opening greeting:

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

And if your church does – how resounding is the congregational response? Those with daily services often find such enthusiasm even harder to maintain. I notice it in visits to this site. During Lent there were regularly two to three thousand or more individuals visiting this site daily. During Easter that drops to about a thousand a day. As humans, as Christians, are we better at preparing for something than actually celebrating what we prepare for?

There is a celebration connected to Lent that maintains huge energy over days – it is carnival – it is the party preparing for Lent! Preparing for the preparation for Easter! Preparing to give things up appears to have some energy in it. But maybe we could harness that energy into the Easter Season? Let’s move our carnival-type parties into Easter.

If you are a member of Facebook you may like to join the “event” (and encourage your Facebook friends to join) Easter is 50 days, you can also send people using “Church stuff” an Easter is 50 days badge. If you run a website or blog you can use the Easter is 50 days badge from the liturgy home page.

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11 thoughts on “Lent prepares for Easter – yeah right!”

  1. Hey – I try. We do say He is Risen for the whole 7 weeks but I must confess the last few weeks it gets a little mumbled. I even keep the lilies up for a couple of weeks but after that even the lilies are tired of it and want to go in the ground. Easter hymns all seven weeks. And then there’s all the extra stuff — Confirmation, Mother’s day, Graduation …

    I think I will use your point – “We prepared 5 weeks for THIS??” in my sermon

  2. We do the same thing to Christmas. We prepare (and shop!) like mad and yet it is “over” in a flash. You can set your watch on the snotty comments coming from local radio here attacking those whose decorations are up on Stephan’s day.


  3. You might be able to make a similar observation about Christmas. I’ve often noticed that when I say that December 25 is the first day of Christmas, some people look at me with wearied expressions. “I’m too tired; I’m glad it’s all over!”

  4. Thank you, Bosco! I almost always begin my sermons in the Easter season with a reminder that Easter is a whole season. I’m going to put the badge up on my home page. Alleluia!

  5. Thank you for the above helpful comments. The comparison with Christmas is particularly apposite. Shops here tend to have the “12 days of Christmas” to mean the 12 shopping days leading up to Christmas – not our Christian season extending to Epiphany.

  6. Hey, I thought Easter was a one day deal(like Pentecost in the new calendar)! You can even buy all your Easter goods for next year at 50% off during the octave!
    American Catholics are notoriously bad at celebrating. Maybe it is our overzealous work ethic. We would actually feel guilty if we took a week off for festivities, and for 50 days, well there is just to much to be done! Maybe it is the Puritanism that runs through our culture that has us thinking that religion and all out celebrations do not mix. As a father, I am thinking of having a huge Easter party next year. It is not a lot, but it is a start. Easter should be more than Mass, Easter baskets and a nice dinner with family. We should be partying in the streets!

  7. When I was starting out preaching, Easter was always the hardest sermon of the year. It’s easy to know what people are “supposed to feel” on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday — it’s tragedy, pure and simple, and everybody knows about tragedy. But what are we supposed to feel happy about on Easter? Jesus is back? Not as the old friend his friends are mourning. Victory over death? Well, yes, but most of us don’t spend most of our lives worrying about death. As I have grown so has the depth of my appreciation of Easter, but I still admit that it’s sometimes hard to match the flat out intensity of Holy Week on Easter morning.

  8. Part of the problem is that we *get* Lent and Holy Week. We understand suffering, death. We may not like it but we understand it because we are familiar with it. Resurrection is something new. Resurrection requires imagination. Maybe we are like the children of Israel in the wilderness longing for the more familiar slavery because freedom requires trusting God in the unknown. Easter requires us to believe in something we haven’t experienced.

  9. We are “The Lord is Risen” with great Alleluia. The sermons give us lots to think about. What does the resurections mean to us in our everyday lifes. How can we be resurected, are feeding his sheep.

    I have been reading a”Take this Bread” a great book for 50 days of Easter.

  10. I wonder if it’s a reflection of how our overarching Western culture shapes us more than the reflective/celebratory culture of the Church? In America the Christmas “season” is Thanksgiving Day (well, now the radio stations play holiday music two weeks out from Thanksgiving) up to the Day of Christmas. The surrounding culture celebrates while the church is preparing. Then, when we’re ready every one else is taking down the trees and the lights and the little snowmen.

    Easter in our culture has a much shorter life, much like Valentine’s Day–and when they’re over–they’re over! It appears that the surrounding culture shapes more of our day-to-day life of the people in the church than the other way a round. Is that too harsh?

  11. I have noticed since I work in the public that Christmas & Easter are all a show.
    For instance from the Wed. before Thanksgiving till the second day after Christmas people are in such a rush that they do not even know what time it is let alone its a “holiday” to be in a good mood. Holidays to the general public are bothersome and a hassle.
    Now that is just a “holiday” I am not even talking about the religious aspect of it.Also these are the times that people are the MOST rude and have a very selfish attitude.

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