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Eastertide: Remembering What Christ Did for Us

By Barbara Rainey

First posted on

In the historical church, the season between Easter Sunday and Pentecost is called Eastertide, a festive season for celebrating the risen Christ. Historically it lasted 40 days until Ascension Day, also called Holy Thursday, to mark the 40 days Jesus remained on earth before returning to heaven. In recent years, some church traditions have changed this season to include the additional ten days before Pentecost.

Historically there are two significant seasons in the church calendar: Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany followed by Lent, Easter, and Pentecost ... anchors built by God to keep His people returning to Him regularly.

Celebration is an important element of our faith which we practice well at Christmas, but not at Easter. But Easter’s celebration prerequisite is a deep understanding of and appreciation for the sacrifice of Christ. In A.D. 33 the disciples saw the gruesome horror of the cross and so experienced a corresponding great joy after the Resurrection. But they also knew fear, confusion, and bewilderment in those unusual days that followed. As Alicia Britt Chole wrote in her book, 40 Days of Decrease, “Meditating on Jesus’ suffering and the disciples’ disillusionment creates a framework within which we can spiritually process our own loss of illusions …”

In the disciples we see ourselves. In Jesus we see our only hope.

There is an important biblical theme that began to show up in Genesis when Adam and Eve forgot God’s character and chose His adversary. Forgetfulness is natural and easy for us made-of-dirt humans. Remembrance requires an intentional choice. God our Maker, who knows us better than we know ourselves, has therefore repeated His emphasis on this theology of remembrance to his prone-to-wander children.

Without a guide for the Eastertide season, we are a little lost. On our own we don’t know how to carry our Easter celebration with us past Resurrection Sunday. We also don’t know how to anticipate the coming church holy days—Ascension Day and Pentecost. We, like our ancestors, need God to guide us in the way.  

There is much we can discover and learn by looking at the recorded appearances of Jesus after His Resurrection and the last words He spoke on earth.

And there is so very much to remember.

Hindsight can teach us a lot.

  • What did He say to His disciples in each appearance after the Resurrection?

  • What does the Resurrection teach us about our lives and our faith?

  • What did the disciples learn and see and understand that can guide us today?

  • What did Jesus reveal about Himself that will carry us forward on our journey just as it did the 12 disciples and the thousands changed by the coming of the Spirit?

This year we are offering two weeks of daily Eastertide devotions, with a goal of creating a full 40-day devotional in the near future. It all starts on the day after Easter.

We’re sending the first post, plus another a week later, to all of our free subscribers. All paid subscribers will receive the full two weeks of devotions. We hope many of you who are not paid subscribers will want to join our Friends & Family community so you too can read all the Eastertide devotions and also receive a free gift during week two.

We hope you will read these devotions meditatively, learn more about Jesus, and continue to savor the Savior who gave His life for you and rose from the grave.

May you celebrate the Resurrection longer this year!

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