The time between Easter morning and Pentecost is called Eastertide. Eastertide or the Easter Season is recognition of the 50 days between Easter and Pentecost. We set it aside to focus on that time in the Gospel witness that we remember when Christ continues to walk among the disciples ultimately departing at the assentation, just before Pentecost which is the celebration of the Holy Spirit, the birth of the Church, and the inclusion of all people into the ministry.
Eastertide is important because as lent was set aside to ask, “How are we preparing ourselves for the coming Christ?” Eastertide is asking the question, “What are we going to do about it?” Or even better, “Now that you have Christ, what are you going to do about it?
Now many will point to John 3:16 as the Gospel summed up.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
When I first was taught that verse, it was presented as the “Most important verse in the Bible.” Now, that gives a lot of weight to a very basic sentence, and while that is important, it merely gives us an understanding of why Christ came into the world and how and why the world is saved, but it leaves off a very important aspect of Christian faithfulness. The call to action.
The call to action spelled out within the Great Commission also the conclusion to the gospel of Matthew lays the foundation for how we are to go forward as Christians:
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefor and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
In this passage, we see the ties back to each teaching of Christ. But more importantly, it points to the bigger reality that the church is not called to stay and revel in its salvation but to go forward into the world being active within God’s mission.
There is a balance in faith that is very real for a healthy faith. To be focused exclusively on one’s individual faith is to miss both the growth and depth of Christian Life. Conversely, to focus on only the action divorces your own spiritual needs and growth from the faithful expression. Without that balance, we can get lost in faith and left often times feeling incomplete. In fact, when we look at the teachings of Christ all of them in some way point to the great commandment. In short, we are called to Love God and our Neighbor. The balance of faith, therefore, is laid out to be faithfulness (love God) and action (love your neighbor).
It is interesting that when balance is found between faithfulness and action, each tends to build up the other. Moreover, when one side is weak, often the other is strong. The trick to balance is to recognize both and let the stronger side help the weaker side get stronger. Once balance is achieved, often those are the moments when we see and can witness to the fullness of Christ in this world.
The reality of our faith is that when we wake up each morning, we are called to remember the life, passion, death, and resurrection of Christ. However, we must not stop there! We must also question our calling, making sure that we are being faithful to our commission as Christians to go out.
Rev. Dr. Bryan James Franzen