Daily Devotional for Small Group Discussion: Hallelujah Is Forever
- The writer introduces the season of Eastertide. Were you previously familiar with this liturgical season?
- How do you sustain the Easter celebration beyond Sunday’s celebrations?
- What might be the tasty result of a recipe made of rolled-away stones, empty tombs, and death-defeating love … multiplied 50 times?
God’s anger is but for a moment; God’s favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes in the morning. – Psalm 30:5 (NRSV)
The other day, my wife made her famous apple pie. Only it wasn’t. She took the recipe from a different place, thinking it was the usual.
When the pie came out, she knew something wasn’t right. The apples had overcooked. The crust wasn’t flaky. It tasted like nothing.
The next week she tried again and discovered her mistake. The two recipes were nearly identical. The difference just 1/4 cup of flour and 1/12 cup of shortening.
But from our first bites of the second pie, we knew: Yes! That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Baking is a delicate balance. So is faith.
Easter, like Lent, is supposed to be a season: 50 days stretching to Pentecost; 7 weeks of celebration, resurrection, and joy. It’s called Eastertide. Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know. No one does.
Many of us observe 40 days of solemn introspection at Lent. We give things up. We take things on. We remember we are dust. We bury our hallelujahs.
Then, for one glorious morning, it’s lilies, and trumpets, and candy-filled plastic eggs: 40 parts Lent to 1 part Easter. That’s the wrong recipe.
The original calls for 50x as much! 50x as many rolled away stones! 50x as many empty tombs! 50x as much death-defeating love!
Imagine the difference. In your life. In your church. In our world.
The balance is off. It’s time to switch recipes. Welcome to Eastertide. God’s anger is for a moment. God’s favor for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes in the morning.
Death has had its day. Hallelujah, forever!
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.