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Only 50 days?

by Jaynan Clark Egland (President, WordAlone Network)

May 2, 2003

May Day is here! According to the tradition that I grew up with and now raise my children in, we will sneak up to neighbors’ doors, ring their bells and hang baskets of goodies on their doorknobs before scampering away undetected. From which ethnic or cultural background this comes is an unanswered question for me and it doesn’t really matter, we continue to practice this tradition—in complete joy.

Tradition guides and directs much of our activity as Lutheran Christians also We have just journeyed through the 40-day season of Lent, according to the tradition. We now are engaged in and will continue throughout the month of May participating in the celebration of the Easter season that is 50 days long, according to the tradition.

Some would ask how could you continue to celebrate Easter for 50 days? A question like this must reflect the limited view of what this season means. (i.e., Can the lilies really last that long? Won’t the Easter hymns get old by then?) The question of course is not how can you keep the celebration of Easter going for 50 days but how could we possibly limit it to a number of days? How could the celebration of Easter ever be contained to any “season” no matter what the length?

All seasons of the church, all celebration, all hymns, liturgies, traditions would end if not for Easter. Easter cannot be contained or limited in any way—any more than Jesus himself can be. Every time we gather for worship, every time we join in prayer, every hymn we sing . . .all is done in the promise of Easter. If the tomb is not empty then all else, according to the tradition, is! 50 days? Eternity does not have enough days to celebrate Easter.