There’s a sense in which we get surprised by Easter. There’s such a long ramp-up to Christmas every year. And then it’s over and the new year starts, and we’re all busy, and all of a sudden there’s Palm Sunday, and then Easter is here. Perhaps your church emphasizes the 40 days of Lent and you prepared for Easter this year. Perhaps not. Our society has lost some of that. The central celebration of Christianity doesn’t even have a school vacation the week before it anymore.
But whether it’s a weekend or a few minutes of contemplation, Easter is more meaningful if we take our hearts through a process to get them ready.
As the early Christians observed the days of our Lord’s passion and resurrection, it became a custom to prepare for this with a season of penitence and fasting. During the season of Lent, converts to the faith were prepared for Holy Baptism. Sometimes those who had been separated from the body because of notorious sins were reconciled during this season, by penitence and forgiveness, and restored to the body. This reminded the entire congregation of the need for believers to repent of sin and have their faith renewed.
Christians are often uncomfortable with a whole lot of lament and remorse. But something has gone wrong. It’s called sin. There are things in our lives that are not how they were meant to be. We acknowledge that when we confess our sin.
We acknowledge the fact that men were created out of the dust of the earth and our bodies will return to that form. We are thus reminded of our mortality. And of our sinfulness.
This is, of course, countercultural.
The culture doesn’t even know what is true anymore. It cannot say what sin is or call it deadly.
Believing saint, as Easter passes, we must remind ourselves of our sin and then cling to Christ and His victory over sin and the grave.