Eastertide - 50 Days of Celebration
We are well into Eastertide, about halfway through. Hopefully you have gathered from worship and music that we are still in full Easter celebration mode. Easter is not just on Easter Sunday. It actually begins with the Vigil and concludes on Pentecost Sunday - Eastertide - fifty days of celebration.
And really, doesn’t the resurrection and promise of eternal life through the grace of Jesus Christ and love of God deserve such celebration?
All you need to do is Google the word ‘Eastertide’ and you will see that it has a rich, complex, and rather complicated history to follow.
But there seems to be two recurring themes. The first celebration. This is the celebration of the resurrection, filled with more Alleluias than any other time of the year, where composers throughout history wrote songs and musical settings specifically for this time. In our own tradition in the ELCA and St. Stephen’s, we replace the ‘Glory to God’ with ‘This Is the Feast’ for our canticle of praise at the start of the service. Again focusing on the festival aspects of “the victory of our Lord” over death and darkness. This is something we cling to in times of personal darkness and even when death touches our own family and friends. It is the hope assured and promise fulfilled of our faith.
The second theme that seems to come up often in the history of Eastertide is that of becoming acquainted with and learning about one’s new worshiping community. If you recall Lent was also used as a time of preparation for those entering into their baptismal covenant and becoming new Christians. These fifty days are a time for those individuals and others to become renewed, and refreshed, and familiar with their new worshiping community and church. This is exactly what we at St. Stephen’s are doing this Eastertide. We are doing this in two very specific and intentional ways.
We have been inviting the congregation to take part in an assessment through a process called LEAD (Living Everyday As Disciples). This is a process that I have put my full support behind, and Council also agreed and has financially and spiritually supported us in this endeavor. For this to work, we need individuals to take the assessment to help us gauge who we are and where we are going. Ultimately, the Congregational Assessment can shape a path for growth. This path may include training, coaching, reading, listening in the community or another “next step.” I cannot stress the importance of this enough - and this is open to anybody! Anybody that has spent 10 minutes in our church all the way up to 100 years at our church. Information for taking the assessment, if you have not taken it already, can be found below.
The second way we are becoming familiar with our worshiping community is through the start of a newcomers and refresher course on Lutheranism and who we are as a church at St. Stephen’s. We are looking to begin these classes shortly. They will be on Sundays following church over a light lunch with childcare available. Please keep your eyes on the website and announcements for more information on this wonderful program that we will be putting together.
As you can see this is a wonderful season in our calendar. It is my hope and prayer that you join us as we begin to grow further into the church we are called to be. After all, resurrection happens in many ways and can take many forms. Hopefully as we grow, we grow into a greater more life giving church for our surrounding community and all of God’s people.
Yours in Christ,
The LEAD assessment can be found online here. The password is: Assessment-cong. You are asked to provide your name and email, but this is only to weed out duplicate responses. You will not be contacted by the LEAD program unless you actually sign up to receive emails.