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Resources for Eastertide

By Mark D. Roberts | Monday, March 24, 2008


easter irvine presbyterianI hadn’t heard this word until I was well into my thirties. At that time I was the Senior Pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church. My Director of Worship was a big believer in celebrating, not just Easter Sunday, but Eastertide . . . the fifty day season that begins with Easter and ends at Pentecost Sunday in May. During this season we continued to sing Easter hymns, like “Christ the Lord is Risen Today.” Our readings and prayers continued to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus and its implications for our lives. (Photo: Easter Sunday worship at Irvine Presbyterian Church)

At this point someone might object: “Every Sunday is, for the Christian, a celebration of the resurrection. We gather for worship on Sunday, rather than Saturday, because Jesus rose on Sunday. Therefore we don’t need a special season of Eastertide. Every Sunday should be Eastertide.”

This objection is substantial, but seems to me somewhat unrealistic. Though we Christians celebrate Easter in our Sunday gatherings, theoretically speaking, in fact I don’t think most services or most Christians are particularly resurrection-centered. And, givent the wide range of themes, truths, and experiences that belong in Christian worship, I don’t think it’s necessarily wrong from Christians to focus on the resurrection during one particular season of the year, but not as much in other seasons.

I do believe, however, that devoting only one Sunday to a focused celebration of the resurrection just isn’t enough. In the days before I “discovered” Eastertide, it always seemed to me as if Easter flew by. Devoting fifty days to the truth and implications of the resurrection makes lots of sense to me.

Of course there is no biblical demand to celebrate Eastertide. There’s not even a biblical passage that says we need to celebrate Easter Sunday, for that matter. So there’s plenty of Christian freedom here. But if you’ve never allow your Easter celebration to continue beyond the one Sunday, I’d urge you to give it a try.

If you’re looking for some resources for Eastertide, you might check out a couple of my previous blog series:

Easter: More Than Just a Day

Handel’s Messiah and Easter

If you’re looking for more information about how Eastertide fits into the Christian (or liturgical) year, check out this part of my Advent series.

Finally, if you want to know what it’s like to celebrate Easter as a pastor, you might enjoy this short series on Easter from the Other Side of the Pulpit. This is the first year in seventeen years that I sat on the congregational side of the Easter pulpit. Quite a change for me!

Topics: Holy Week & Easter |

2 Responses to “Resources for Eastertide”

  1. Evan Says:
    March 24th, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    I caught your Good Friday appearance on Hugh Hewitt’s radio via internet replay today, and I must ask:

    Was it the Top Ten Movies About Hypocritical, Lying, Stupid and/or Criminal Preachers, or what?

    Leap of Faith, The Apostle, Inherit the Wind, Elmer Gantry, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Footloose… shall we just say this is hardly the clergy at their best. To make it worse, scorn was dumped on A Man Called Peter as a “boring” and “terrible” film and it got tossed from the list to make way for hypocrit Steve Martin and “Leap of Faith.” Now, I hardly claim to be an expert film reviewer, but if the over-acting scenery-chewing of Inherit the Wind and its theological straw men that get knocked down counts as great filmmaking, the bar is pretty dang low.

    Just as dismaying was that films with a positive faith message, notably Chariots of Fire, were not even considered until caller suggestions.

    A possible blog series regarding such movies for your site was mentioned. Since Hugh and Emmitt made it pretty hard for you to say much, was that just a passing thought? Even if it was mere whimsy, I would be interested in your take on how all of that came down on Friday.

  2. Charlie Says:
    March 24th, 2008 at 10:40 pm


    I agree with your thoughts on Eastertide and the value of an extended focus on the resurrection. I have only recently begun to appreciate and use the lectionary / Christian calendar as a tool to pray and focus on the life of Jesus throughout the year. What a precious gift it has been. I would love to see more evangelicals discover this ancient treasure.


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