Pastor Scott Hannon
St. John Lutheran Church Amherst, NY
Sometimes I think that the church season of Lent gets too much attention. It becomes a time in the year when it’s convenient to get holy. Jesus movies and documentaries are played on TV. Restaurants and grocery stores offer fish fries so we can practice our piety. In church we add worship opportunities and challenge ourselves to grow in faith and discipleship. Now, don’t get me wrong, all of this is a good thing! It’s just that sometimes I think the season of Lent overshadows what the season leads into: Easter.
To that end, let me ask you this:
Did you know that Easter is a season not a day?
Have you ever wondered what Jesus was up to on Easter Monday? Easter Tuesday? The next Sunday? Or even a month later?
If we were to consider the church calendar as a whole, which season do you think would be more important: The season of Lent where Jesus walks to the cross or the season of Easter where Jesus walks out of the tomb?
The truth is Easter is not a day. It is a season. In the church we celebrate Easter for 40 days because we remember that Jesus walked with his church for 40 days after the resurrection. In the book of Acts we hear that, “After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).” For 40 days the resurrected Christ journeyed with his disciples. They broke bread together. He gave them strength to carry on. He forgave them. He empowered them. He commissioned them. And only then, when the time was right, he ascended into heaven.
It is the resurrected Christ who walks with us. For the next forty days we will hear stories of how he found his disciples (often in places of fear and uncertainty) and gave them the strength to carry on. We will hear him whisper, “Peace,” into their ears. We will learn how his presence filled their hearts with fire. And we will discover how that same Lord meets us and inspires us today.
As we come to the end of Lent, we are not reaching the end of the journey. Rather, we find a new, abundant, and grace-filled beginning. We walk forward into a future filled with hope. May this Easter season be filled with a continued discipleship emphasis. May we continue to seek ways to practice our piety (maybe even in ways that involve a bit more faith practice than abstaining from meat on Friday). May we seek new ways to worship and grow in faith. And strengthened by the presence of the Risen Christ in our midst may we like those first disciples be witnesses to God’s amazing grace from Jamestown, NY to the ends of the earth.
He is risen.
He is risen, indeed.
In the Way,
For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.