You can still be celebrating!

We celebrate new life at Easter. The resurrection of Jesus is so important for us individually and collectively, that we celebrate it for a season, not only one day each year. There are church days and seasons every year.  This image below illustrates the church calendar.

Easter Sunday is the kickoff of the celebration that continues for 50 days. As a kid, I remember Easter Sunday well. Besides egg hunts, we marked the season with lots of white banners in the sanctuary. Each Sunday message was themed around new life. I especially remember Pastor Greg and my Grandpa describing Jesus’ power animating creation with new life. I began practicing prayer and experienced things that Greg and Grandpa talked about, like not having to fear death, like the joy of simple pleasures, like being captivated by the beauty of a sunset. Prayer grounded me and connected me with God.

During Easter, Grandpa nudged me to pay attention to the new things God might be doing. On Sunday mornings, when I wasn’t daydreaming or sleeping—or arm wrestling my brother on the floor between pews, God help me as my kids grow up—I was inspired by these accounts of the loving power of the Kingdom of God infusing the world around me. Soon, everything seemed to be pulsing with the life of God. I was particularly fond of the life of snakes from Pataha Creek and the powerful reactions they produced in my family and friends. As a kid in a stable family, it wasn’t difficult to daydream about new life springing up everywhere. I try not to take that privilege of a safe childhood lightly.

Forty years later, new life is beautiful and abundant, but doesn’t always jump out at me the same. Yet, I’m beginning to recapture this wonder with my son Zeke. He’s two. And right now, he’s fascinated by dandelions.  He often marvels at the productiveness of that bright yellow flower we know as a weed. Heck, he finds life in mud and goose poop and sand in his shorts. For Zeke, finding beautiful and abundant life isn’t even a question. Zeke’s carefree safety and stability has helped me to re-open my eyes to the abundant life of many hard-working people at Dream Centers Mary’s Home and Women’s Clinic. All too recently many of their homes were not safe or stable. But Mary’s Home and the Women’s Clinic are two of the safest places in our community. Many of the patients even call the clinic their safe place, because its where they have found new life.

Easter is an entire season of new life.

The resurrection of Christ took the sting from death. It freed us up to keep letting go of the thousands of deaths we will experience in life. To forgive. To love. And to courageously keep on loving because we know that love has, and will continue to, overcome all death. Jesus gave everything so that we can be safe to discover the beauty of simple things like stability, safety dandelions.

I need a reminder to keep looking. Especially when I don’t feel it. Particularly in a pandemic season. New life is bursting around us every single spring. The Church calendar of seasons is the Church’s way of keeping our rhythm so we don’t simply let the beauty of life pass us by. The Church calendar isn’t a tradition for tradition’s sake. It’s a reminder to pause and imagine life-giving Spirit infusing everything. To open childlike eyes. To resurrect the parts of us that are dead. To celebrate longer (50 days of Easter) than we lament (40 days of Lent).

G.K. Chesterton was in touch with the power of life of Easter.  The peculiar power of keeping this rhythm is the annual reminder of the most important thing—the love of God and the love we have for each other. For me, Easter is like Chesterton’s whispering gold while the sand screams for my attention.

The sages have a hundred maps to give

That trace their crawling cosmos like a tree,

They rattle reason out through many a sieve

That stores the sand and lets the gold go free:

And all these things are less than dust to me

Because my name is Lazarus and I live.

From The Convertby G. K. Chesterton

May you find your gold this season, and every Easter season.

Matthew Ayers

Although Easter is seven weeks, we count Pentecost Sunday as the final day in the season, hence 50 days of Easter season. It’s why some people say Easter season is eight weeks.

Dream Centers occasionally shares stories reflective of the real life experiences of women and families we have served. Please know that all names have been changed and descriptive life events edited to protect all actual parties involved. Dream Centers is unable to regulate outside subsequent commentary on or distribution of those stories. We value every woman and family we serve and are committed to doing everything possible to protect their privacy.