We did it. We made it to Easter, safe and sound. Contrary to how we felt, say, around the Second Sunday in Lent, our prayer, fasting and almsgiving did not, in fact, kill us. And yes, many of us did not succeed for the entire season, but we’re here anyway, Easter bonnets donned and the Easter ham in the oven.
Oh, it feels good. We lived with empty sanctuaries and purple drapings for forty long days. Outside, the early spring kept tempting us to behave as if Lent had yielded early this year, as if we were no longer held to its demanding timeline. But then we stepped back into church and were reminded that we are part of a universal fast that does not end just because it’s warm outside.
Is it just me, or has it become much more painful to keep Lent these days? My theory is that there is so much Easter in my daily life―so much beauty, so much fun, so much food, so many books, so many friends, so much prosperity, that keeping a fast from any of it seems much more restrictive than it did in my youth.
But fast I did, in my weak and puny way. I certainly don’t deserve Easter, but, thank God, no one ever does. Yet, despite all of our failures, Easter has finally arrived, with its fragrant flowers and lily-trumpeted sanctuaries. What a feast for the senses! Bring on the Easter sacraments― the Baptism waters, the First Communion chalices, the Confirmation oils.
For lo, the winter is past, and the flowers appear on the earth (Song of Songs 2:11). Therefore, let us keep the feast.
How are you planning to keep the fifty-day Easter feast?