Celebrating Eastertide-The Great 50 Days

Celebrating Eastertide-The Great 50 Days

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Celebrating Easter- The Great 50 Days!

Easter is not a single Sunday, but a season!  While many congregations consider opening and the right moment to open, we might  ask, "Should the focus or intention of our Eastertide (the 50 days following Easter to Pentecost) be opening ourselves?" What if our Alleluia response to the resurrection and the Easter moment were to move from Easter to Pentecost with a focus on a positive intention that would deepen our faith and discipleship? What might we imagine doing as a congregation to live in new ways and in the way of Jesus? How might we share a 'metaphorical' alleluia each day, for 50 days? With our friends, our neighbors, our communities in mind, how might we offer something of our daily living to God in gratitude and in celebration of the life and love of Jesus in new or intentional ways? How might we expend an extra effort to extent our alleluias?

For those not as familiar with the Eastertide tradition, it marks both the 40 days of Jesus making resurrection appearances to the Apostles following his resurrection after the discovery of the empty tomb and the 10 days between Jesus ascension and the moment of the Pentecost found in Acts.  Easter is the highpoint of the Christian faith and year and it literally is 50 days that extends the celebration of Easter until Pentecost. To read more about it, there are several good sources and resources. Two of them I found online are here and here. Some of the historic or ancient traditions are interesting and may even be adapted with new meaning for today.

One example of that season for the historic church in the Anglican tradition was to celebrate a Clipping the Church ritual Sunday. Clipping is a term derived from a term in ancient language, clyppan, that means embrace or clasp.  The ritual involves the congregation or local children holding hands in an outward-facing ring around the church. The circle of onlookers will cheer once the circle is complete and then a hymn might be sung! Our fore-bearers in faith adopted this tradition to show their love for the church and the surrounding community and its people. (Find more on Wikipedia) While it may not currently be done except in a small area of England and while it isn't possible in these times, I love this image and idea! I love the idea of a ritual that marks a recommitment by a congregation and her people to renew their outward focus on church mission and ministry. The Great 50 Days seems a good time to engage in such an activity; an opportunity to embrace our neighbors and our communities in important ways. A celebratory season of our faith that enables us to individually and together make meaning and celebrate!

What if we were to celebrate this coming Eastertide in one of these ways: 
  • With 50 Days of Kindness for a stranger?
(What if we practiced 50 days of paying it forward? Helping someone who we may not otherwise know or be in relationship with?)
  • With 50 Days of Kindness for our neighbors?
(Mobilizing our church members and communities members to extend small but important acts of kindness to those surrounding our church community. Write a note, offer a spring clean up, deliver a meal, share a gently used book, etc. anything you can do safely and in consideration of continuing safe pandemic practices) 
  • With 50 Days of Healing for those who are hurting?
(The number of bankruptcies, unemployed, anxious, unhoused, etc. has climbed significantly during CoVid 19. Our members included. What intentional support or care might be our focus?) 
  • With 50 Days of Celebrating Others
(Recognize church and community leaders is various types of service, youth making a difference, the accomplishments of  children, etc. Use your online e-blasts to recognize and thank them, to lift up and celebrate milestones or notable acts of caring.) 
  • With 50 Days of Caring for Creation?
(Mobilizing members and neighbors to advocacy, local clean up, individual commitment to best practices of recycling, up-cycling,  and simple living, and celebrate Earth Day mid-way through Pentecost!)
  • With 50 Days of Caring for the Vulnerable?
(Choosing to engage in initiatives and endeavors that make a difference in the lives of children or our seniors. A meal and message a day to 50 seniors. Offer a calendar of 50 ways families can care for children, etc.) 

I haven't decided what I'll do yet, still engaging in my Lenten practices. However, as seasons come and go, we continue to live by their rhythm, the rituals and traditions, and make new ones. We continue to anticipate the future and change as we anticipate new ways to participate in and celebrate the seasons of the church year, the seasons of our lives.
What will you do for the Great 50 Days? 

Author

kziel_17.jpg
Karen E. Ziel

Karen Ziel supports Christian Educators and faith formation leaders with consultation, training, resources and programs. She has guided the development of the Leadership Studio at United Church Center, a communications and workshop facility for ...

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