Preparing for Easter
What is the best way for Christians to prepare to celebrate Easter? When I was a child, it was our family tradition to buy new clothes to wear for Easter. I always enjoyed wearing something new on Easter Sunday, but that was the extent of our preparation for that special day. Our church did not emphasize the season of Lent and we did not follow the liturgical celebration of Holy Week. The full extent of our preparation for Easter was to buy something new to wear.
That is not a bad thing. In fact, purchasing new clothes can be a meaningful symbol of new life: putting off the old and putting on the new (cf. Colossians 3:9; Ephesians 4:22-24). Unfortunately, as a child, I never connected the spiritual meaning of the clothes purchase and I never was really prepared for a meaningful celebration of Easter. The day came and went and meant little more than summer was coming.
The church has long struggled with how to best prepare believers to celebrate the full significance of this day. The 40 days of Lent were set aside by the ancient church as a time of intentional preparation. Lent emphasizes repentance, spiritual discipline, and self-reflection.
The last week of Lent, sometimes referred to as Holy Week, is especially significant as the church remembers the events of the last week of Christ’s earthly life that led to the crucifixion and resurrection. By participating in this annual recollection of these events, Christians gain a deeper meaning into the theological significance of Easter.
Worship on Easter Sunday signals the end of Lent. With renewed faith and vision, the church continues her discipleship throughout the rest of the year.
If you have not already started your Lenten journey to Easter, let me encourage you to at least participate in the Maundy Thursday and Good Friday services. And then, on Saturday, go and buy some new clothes for Easter.