First published in The Sunday Page, April 21, 2019

Today Begins the Season of Easter

by Allison Pate, Faith  Formation & Service Director

Easter Sunday! Back at Christmastime we heard the words from John, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5). Zechariah prophesied, “the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78-79). Now – at last – that dawn has come! But dawn is not the day. Just as sunrise brings the first light of day, Easter Sunday is only the beginning: Jesus’ resurrection is the “first fruits” of the harvest, an encouraging glimpse of what’s ahead. A new, irrevocable era has dawned – and in the end, love and justice, shalom and joy will have the final word. The sun will rise!

Today begins the season of Easter, fifty days of celebrating Jesus’ resurrection – outpacing the forty days of Lent. Easter Sunday is not merely the end of Lent – it’s the beginning of Eastertide, the renewal of our life as Christians, a life lived in the breaking light as a new day begins. The resurrection is so great a mystery, and calls for so grand a party, that merely one day won’t do. Bring on the fifty-day season of jubilation! The trumpets and lilies signal a beginning, a launch, a kickoff – a dawn of a new day.

Evoking the amazement of the first disciples, E. E. Cummings’s poem “i thank You God for most this amazing” rings with themes of resurrection. Jesus’ resurrection is God’s “yes” in response to the world’s “no/of all nothing.”

i thank You God for most this amazing

day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees

and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything

which is natural which is infinite which is yes

 

(i who have died am alive again today,

and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth

day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay

great happening illimitably earth)

 

how should tasting touching hearing seeing

breathing any—lifted from the no

of all nothing—human merely being

doubt unimaginable You?

 

(now the ears of my ears awake and

now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

 

This poem was originally published in Xaipe (New York: Oxford University Press, 1950),

reissued in 2004 by Liveright, an imprint of W.W. Norton & Company.

 

Indeed, Easter means that God has taken one of the worst things in the world, a cross, and remade it into one of the best, a Tree of Life. Love lives again! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!