Friday, February 19, 2010

Lent and Easter: How Often?

When researching for my last post on the dangers of Lent, I came across an interesting piece of information, which reminded me of something I knew but which has returned to me with greater force.

I was looking at the online Catholic Encyclopedia. I figured that they would know best on the beginnings and practices of Lent. It seems that Lent only was started post 325AD, a relatively late development, and certainly not of apostolic origin or authority. But why was Lent so late in developing? Why was an annual period of discipline and denial such a late thought, and not thought of by the apostles?

Well, because Easter wasn't an annual event in the apostolic and early church. What, I hear you say? Did they not have Easter Sunday? They did, but not annually. In the early church, Easter was a weekly event. Every Sunday is an Easter Sunday! Each Sunday is the Lord's Day, the weekly remembrance of the Lord's resurrection from the the dead, triumphing over sin and death and hell.

With this rediscovered knowledge, how would that change how we do church and view the first day of the week? Every Sunday is a mini-Easter, a time of joy and a reminder of the hope that is ours. A weekly Easter means that the supposedly seasonal or annual repentance becomes a lifelong commitment to discipleship in the post-Easter church. Hope, not despair. Life, not death. Joy, not sorrow.

Are you ready to celebrate Easter this Sunday?

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