Friday, March 30, 2007

Easter season

Easter is not a day but a season, in the Christian liturgical calendar. Easter Sunday, April 8 this year, is only the first day of a 50-day Easter season that ends with Pentecost, meaning, literally, the 50th day. So with the 40 days of Lent, Easter Sunday comes somewhat in the middle of the 90-day period between Ash Wednesday and Pentecost.

But Easter is not the middle of the experience in the sense of moving toward a divine illumination and then returning, like Campbell's hero's journey. THe point of Easter really is a sudden transformation. Things are different, immediately and permanenetly. Easter Sunday was traditionally the day of accepting new converts to the faith. The baptism was an instantaneous achievement, a re-birth, forever alterning one's nature. The 50-days following are an extension of that singular experience, as though Easter were simply too big for a single day to contain.

The reason that this seems counter to my notion of spirituality, is that Christianity places the power for spiritual transformation in the hands of God. The Christian is the passive receiver of God's grace. Once God has done the work of salvation the journey is finished. And God being God, the moment of salvation is decisive.

I follow a different spiritual path that puts emphasis on each person to take responsibility for their own salvation. The psiritual journey is much more like the labyrinth for me, a twisting path that only by time and after negotiating several wrong turns encounters the divine. And from there the point is not to stop but to come back again, to rejoin the world in your transformed state, and to help transform the world in line with the divine truths you've discovered.

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