Every week in the church newsletter, Fr. Rob shares a small theological musing to help form our faith and remind us of what we believe as Episcopalians. This is a compilation of those reflections.
Rogationtide is a short season within the larger Easter celebration in which we celebrate God’s love for the created world, and ask for God’s blessing, in particular, on seeds, farms, and human labor which brings the fruits of the earth to our tables. It is an ancient celebration, which obviously was a more integrated part of the religious experience of people living in agrarian societies. In those cultures, the priest would “beat the bounds” of the parish by leading a procession around the physical boundaries of the parish, and blessing all of the lands.
This Sunday we will do this in a symbolic way as we process from the nave out to the lawn in front of the bell tower and offer prayers asking for God’s blessing on the created world. We will also ask for God to continue to bless the earth where the physical remains of those who have been buried in our memorial garden are at rest. This is a reminder of our connection to nature- to the dust to which we will all return- as well as a celebration of the renewed life given to us in baptism which will continue in resurrected life beyond the grave.
During the forty days of Lent, we spent time in prayer and self-reflection, considering the ways we turn away from the way of love that Jesus has asked us to walk in and asking for God’s grace to turn back to God. We discerned which habits we need to eliminate from our life because they distract us from Love, and which practices we need to incorporate into our lives because they empower us to Love.
The fifty days of our Easter celebration offer us an opportunity to incorporate those changes into our daily lives- to practice walking in Love, and to imagine what the world will be like when God’s Reign of Love holds sway. It is an opportunity to cooperate with God’s grace, through prayer and good works, so that the fruit of our Lenten repentance can begin to bear fruit in our lives.
We are about halfway through our Easter journey. What places in your life or in the world remain imprisoned by death and sin? What practices can you incorporate into your daily living to expose those places to the liberating Love and new life that the Resurrected Christ offers?
May the grace of this holy season center us all in the lifegiving heart of God, and empower us to live the Resurrection, trusting that through our surrender to the Holy Spirit, God is transforming us more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
The Feast of Easter is the Queen of feasts, the pinnacle of Christian life and worship. It is a season of life and light which calls to mind the fullness of life in God that awaits us in the life to come when we will be raised to life eternal in the presence of God.
Throughout Lent we spent time in penance and fasting, intentionally working on turning away from sin and turning towards God. We contemplated what life is like when we separate ourselves from God and others by our selfish choices. During Easter, the church calls us to contemplate the reality of abundant life in and with God, through Jesus Christ. The triumph of Christ’s resurrection reminds us of Love’s final victory, when once and for all the powers of sin and darkness will be vanquished in God’s perfect reign.
The ancient Church omitted the Confession of Sin during the Mass during the Easter Season, not because people stopped sinning during this period, but because it was believed that this season was full of grace by virtue of our Lord’s Resurrection. In Lent we remember the consequences of “wrong living”; in Easter we remember and practice “right living”, more intentionally following Christ’s Way of Love.
Of course, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is always available for those who need it at any time, and the faithful are encouraged to confess their sins in their daily private prayers, even during the season of Easter. But Eastertide offers us a special grace, to imagine what our life could be like without sin, centered completely on God’s Love. Embrace the grace God so freely offers us to live an abundant life that radiates light and life to the world. Let us Be Resurrection!