“We are about to mark the first time in the COVID-19 era when we have ‘lapped’ a Christian holiday, having completed one full circuit of the liturgical track,” writes my colleague Gretchen Ziegenhals.
Even though this second Easter of the pandemic may feel “more normal” than last year as more congregations resume limited in-person worship, for most of us, this Easter will still not be all that we think of as Easter. So, in this Weekly, some inspiration for your holiday. Aleta Payne reflects on her first Easter celebrated at her kitchen table. Then, Paul Baxley assures us that Easter is not canceled if we are unable to gather in person. Gretchen Ziegenhals says that, after a year of suffering, we need a reminder that the Christian faith is an embodied one. We conclude with some resources for your Holy Week and Easter, including a summary of Charles Olsen’s The Wisdom of the Seasons.
Welcome to the Weekly.
Easter at the altar of my kitchen table
Easter 2020 was the first that Aleta Payne can remember when she wasn’t physically in church. One year later, her reflection on that experience can provide inspiration to all of us who are putting final plans in place for a second Easter mostly online.
Resources for leaders during the pandemic
Easter is not canceled if we do not gather
Even as many congregations regather for limited in-person worship, there are many that are staying primarily online. Paul Baxley, the executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, reminds us that Easter isn’t canceled if we do not gather in person.
Walking through closed doors this Easter — the resurrection of the body
“This Easter, perhaps like never before, I need to name and reaffirm the embodied nature of our lives and of our resurrection faith,” writes Gretchen Ziegenhals, a managing director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, in this reflection.
Resources for Holy Week & Easter
Our colleagues at Faith & Leadership have curated a collection of essays and other resources for Holy Week and Easter.
From the Alban Library
The Wisdom of the Seasons: How the Church Year Helps Us Understand Our Congregational Stories
by Charles M. Olsen
The church year is often seen as a framework for church programs, but well-known Alban author Charles Olsen shows readers how it can be a prism through which congregations more deeply understand their own stories. By weaving together our narratives and those of Christian tradition, a congregation can clarify its identity, grow in wisdom, and discover a new vision and ministry. Olsen draws parallels between the church seasons and practices of spiritual formation — letting go, naming and celebrating God’s presence, and taking hold. He shows us how these movements are expressed in the three major cycles of the church year — Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. Focusing on communal narratives, he presents a process for telling a story and forming a corporate memory of the story, and then deepening and reflecting on it by exploring the season of the church year that captures its character.
Before you go…
From all of us who work on the Alban Weekly, we wish you a meaningful Holy Week and a joyful Easter. There won’t be a Weekly on Easter Monday, but we will see you again in your inbox on Monday, April 12.
In the meantime, we wish you peace!
Managing Director, Alban at Duke Divinity