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Season of joy, rebirth continues

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

These or similar words are what we often hear in church in this Easter season, tomorrow being the fourth Sunday of Easter in many churches. The Easter Season is roughly 1/7th of the year, so some look at it as the “sabbath” of the year. Even if you come from a tradition that does not practice Lent, Holy Week, and then the season of Easter, most churches celebrate Easter Sunday when words like the above are said hopefully and with some gusto!

This season is a celebratory time when you will see more desserts in the monasteries and teas in churches. Now is the time to eat that Easter candy…not when it appears in stores before Ash Wednesday!

…In the spirit of this jovial activity, you might even find more jokes in the sermons. I found this one while browsing the web about a church bulletin note. I just had to use it the other week when we had a baptismal service. “Baptisms: After Easter, the north and south ends of the church will be utilized. Children will be baptized at both ends!”

This is a season of joy and rebirth, of baptism and renewal, which matches the growing warmth and greening of the northern hemisphere that we are all enjoying this time of year.

As part of this season, some churches light a Paschal candle at an Easter vigil or sunrise service to represent the Passover mystery. The light of Christ burns, and this Easter, the Resurrection Candle stays lit as a symbol of the resurrected Jesus, who walked the earth for forty days until he ascended back to heaven. We often keep it burning an additional ten days until we celebrate Pentecost. [Also known in my parish this year, as the feast of the holy strawberry (festival)!]

As we joyously celebrate, we can still dig deep into our faith and walk with Jesus in his resurrected life. We all have times when we are like Thomas, sometimes doubting, but then faithful, when we say to Jesus, as Thomas did: “My Lord and My God!” (John 20:28 NIV).

When we are in that faithful, believing Thomas mode, we enter a time beyond our regular realm.

On the eighth day, as Sunday is sometimes called, the day after the week of the Lord’s Passion of coming into Jerusalem with all the fanfare of a king, there was a great crescendo to a decrescendo, loud crash and then dead silence on Good Friday. But then on the eighth day, there was victory over death and love over all, from the darkness of the tomb to the brightness of day.

In this Easter season we sing: “The strife is o’er, the battle done; the victory of life is won; the song of triumph has begun: Alleluia!” and “Now let the heavens be joyful, let earth her song begin…. for Christ the Lord is risen, our joy that has no end!”

We never beat God to love. God calls us before we ask, but we get to respond in love.

Please continue to celebrate the joy of the resurrection for all that it means for us, in this life and the life to come!

Alleluia! Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

The Rev. Ken Wagner-Pizza serves Trinity Episcopal Church at 844 W. Fourth St., Williamsport