Monday, April 5, 2010

Theology/Life: He is Risen!

Happy Easter! He is Risen!

Now, I know what at least some of you are probably thinking - Easter was yesterday genius, it's Monday. However, thankfully, that's actually not quite correct. You see, the traditional, liturgical churches divide up the year into a series of seasons, each structured around a part of the Christian story, each speaking to an important part of our journey as believers. The most famous of these seasons is probably Lent, or perhaps Advent (Christmas, though I doubt most people think of the season as a whole as a religious event). However, the whole year has its seasons, and Easter is a full season of its own, lasting from Easter Sunday until the Day of Ascension, as long as the season of Lent before it.

Easter is Lent's mirror. Lent is a time of mourning and reflection, a time of quite contemplation and fasting. As most of you know, it is traditional to give up something we love for Lent, it is an act of submission, a way of realigning oneself with God's story. Lent, Holy Week included, stands as the road to the cross, to the day when (as the wonderful song "In Christ Alone says" ) " in the ground His body lay/ Light of the world by darkness slain."

But Easter season stands on the other End of Christ's Passion, it is the celebration of life, of the fact that the Grave could not hold the King. What is more, Easter proclaims God's promise that He is making everything new, that one day the old order of things, of death, decay, oppression and sin, will pass away and be resurrected in Christ a glorious New Creation. This promise celebrates the goodness of what God has made, from the majestic mountains, to the simple things in life like chocolate, and, yes, even wine.

Because of this fact, N.T. Wright in his wonderful book Surprised by Hope suggests that we start a new tradition. Just as in Lent we gave things up, rejecting the old order of the world, in Easter we should, at least for that season, take up something new as an affirmation of the goodness of what God has made, and an anticipation of what is to come. Of course, this can be something you'd label "spiritual" like a special quite time for prayer, or a regular Bible reading schedule... but it doesn't have to be. The new thing can be a new hobby (maybe you might want to take up drawing like you've always wanted to), a new habit (greeting strangers on the street) or maybe even just learning to appreciate a form of art or food you've never before enjoyed.

Easter is a season of feasting, of celebration, so I challenge you, take up something new. Feast in the goodness of what God has made. I for one am taking up guitar, and I'm also going to let my friend try and infect me with his love of poetry.

Go live and flourish!