A mother of two young children showed me her digital photos: sweet little kids dressed up, holding decorated baskets in their backyard Easter Egg hunt. “Adorable”, I say. “Well, they were both sick on Easter, so we had to wait a whole week to celebrate. We took these pictures yesterday!” I smile at how joyful it is for a child to have Easter any day no matter what the calendar says.
Most calendars mark a single day as “Easter”, yet, technically, the church considers Easter a season of fifty days. The burst of joy on the first Sunday gets the most attention: sunrise services, musical cantatas, lilies and egg hunts.. but that first Sunday is just one of six Sundays that build upon one another with stories of Jesus appearances after the crucifixion. The Great Fifty Days culminates with the fortieth day where Jesus ascends and the fiftieth day where the Holy Spirit enters the room as tongues of fire on Pentecost.
Throughout the fifty days, the resurrected Christ “shows up and shows off.” Once betrayed and forsaken, he now returns with forgiveness and peace. Once denied by his disciples, he returns to restore and reconcile. Once suffering and dead, he now appears to show his wounds and show his life.
Looking at the calendar, I realize that my remaining times as pastor of Olivet coincides with the liturgical calendar so that my farewell Sunday will be on Pentecost. As I complete this appointment, I invite us to reflect on the many ways God has showed up and shown off for us over the years. In our time of need, we have received many blessing. In our times of strained relationships, we have received reconciliation. In our times of mourning, we have been carried into new life.
Right now we are getting ready for the rummage sale / bake sale /collecting clothes for kids to go to West River Camp. We have an enormous goal of 2,000 pounds to pay for one campership. It’s hard to comprehend that much clothing, blankets, purses and shoes. But as followers of the risen Christ, during this season of Easter, may we be people who expect God to “show up and show off.”