Our church looks quite different during these 50 Easter Days compared to the Lenten Season that precedes the 50-day Easter Season the church has an entirely different look. We are blessed with parishioners who have given us the Easter “decorations”. There is the painting which captures so well what is so prominent in the telling of the Easter story in the Gospels:
The Stone is rolled away and the Tomb is empty. The Crucified Jesus cannot be found among the dead. He is risen from the dead! The story of Jesus does not end with the despair of Good Friday evening, but with the wonder of the Easter morning. In a sense, it does not end there either, because the wonder of Easter morning continues wherever we are liberated from the many tombs in which we can find ourselves imprisoned. May the Risen Lord Jesus continue his saving work among us. And there are the Easter banners which we have had for about 15 years or so and they are still fresh. They too tell the story of the Risen Christ very well. In vivid images, they try to capture what we as church are about in the 50-day Easter season.
The Cross has been transformed into the Tree of Life. Remember what we sang during Lent and on Good Friday (CBW III 373)? That is what the Resurrection of Jesus makes possible. The sun of the new creation has dawned and the roots of the Cross, of the Tree of Life, reach into the darkest corners of our human existence to bring life. And the branches on the Cross represent us who are grafted onto the Vine that Jesus is because of our faith in Jesus Christ sealed in our Baptism. Part of that new creation is that the Risen Christ has shared his life-giving Spirit with us; that is captured in the red banner with its flames of fire. The lower banner shows us how in the waters of Baptism we have come to share in the new creation of the Risen Jesus.
Quite significantly, the banners hang above or serve as a backdrop to the two focal points of our celebration of the Eucharist: The lectern from which God’s life-giving Word is proclaimed The altar around which we share the life-giving bread and wine of the new creation, the Body and Blood of Christ. These are the two principal means of the church by which the new life we have received in Baptism is nourished on a regular basis.