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Come Reason's Apologetics Notes blog will highlight various news stories or current events and seek to explore them from a thoughtful Christian perspective. Less formal and shorter than the Web site articles, we hope to give readers points to reflect on concerning topics of the day.

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Thursday, April 04, 2013

Eastertide is High Tide for Apologetics!

People have often commented on the incredibly fast pace of our current culture.  We live in a "get it then forget it" society where we're always looking towards the next thing, but we don't take the time to ponder what we have already. Even in our celebrations, we are sometimes too quick to move on. Take Easter for example. We think of it as a single day. We make some preparations, mark it with a day at church and maybe a family dinner, and then it's over.  Put the decorations away; what next on the calendar? But this approach doesn't do justice to the incredible change that the events of the first Easter Sunday brought. If you only focus on Easter as one day, you will miss out on a joyful and powerful time to reinvigorate yourself as a member of the body of Christ.  You will miss out on the historic Christian tradition of celebrating Eastertide.

What is Eastertide?  It is simply another name for the Easter season, those fifty days between Christ's resurrection and Pentecost.  Most people have heard of the season of Lent, leading up to Easter, but the celebration of Eastertide has somehow fallen out of popular favor, especially with Protestants. While Lent is a solemn time marked with abstinence and quietness, Eastertide can be a time of re-invigoration and joy.

It is during these fifty days that Jesus showed Himself to His disciples on multiple occasions. It is here that Jesus reveals Himself to Thomas and recommissions Peter.  It is here that Jesus explains Himself to the two walking to Emmaus. It is here appears before five hundred brethren and promises the disciples that the Holy Spirit will come upon them in power not many days from now. It is here that Jesus ascends to the Father to intercede on our behalf forever.

Because of all this, Jesus' followers were engaged and excited.  Look at how the two Emmaus disciples reacted after they realized they had been with Jesus in Luke 24:31-35. They felt their hearts burn within them as they gained clarity about Jesus and His mission. They couldn't wait to tell the other disciples that they had new insight into the Lord, immediately turning around and travelling back to Jerusalem, even after they had planned on retiring for the evening. The knowledge that the ultimate consequence of death no longer had any power over Jesus gave them confidence and conviction. They would draw on these in the days, weeks, and years to come as they faced a hostile world with the message of the saving Christ. Yes, the days between Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday are to be embraced and celebrated.

I think Jesus' actions during this time show us how we can celebrate Eastertide.  Jesus was always specific in his actions. Prior to the crucifixion, Luke 9:51 tells us that Jesus set his face to go to Jerusalem. After the Resurrection, He focuses all His attention on preparing the disciples for the task that is now set before them, to "be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." This is a good model for us to follow.

I think that the fifty days between Easter and Pentecost are the perfect time for Christians to prepare themselves for engaging an increasingly hostile world. Apologetics provides the perfect platform to do just that. 1 Peter 3:15 reminds us to "always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is within you" and that's exactly with apologetics does. So during Eastertide, perhaps you can subscribe to an apologetics podcast, like one of these top podcasts that Brian Auten has put together.  Maybe you could begin an apologetics study at your church. You may wish to simply read a book defending the Christian position on an issue you feel strongly about, or you can plan on attending an upcoming apologetics event in your area. What you choose doesn't matter as much as simply engaging in new ideas that can prepare you for the future.

We all need reminders to do those things that are important but often neglected in our lives. Just as we use the changing of the clocks at spring time to remind us to change the batteries in our smoke alarms, the season of Eastertide can serve as a good way to remind ourselves we need to recharge our intellectual reservoirs. Easter declares that He is risen. Eastertide allows us to celebrate why that matters. Let's steel ourselves for the task set before us.  Pentecost is coming; will you be ready to go when the Spirit moves?

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