As you might guess, we're pretty devoted to Lent here at Lent Madness HQ. But even we have often said that Lent is the warm-up for the bigger season, the great fifty days of Easter. Indeed, the liturgy of the Episcopal Church reminds us that Lent is a season to "prepare with joy for the Paschal feast."
So let us be among the first to wish you a joyful and blessed Easter!
Whether you are celebrating José Hernández's win, weeping bitter tears over Teresa of Avila's narrow loss, or among those whose brackets were totally busted early on, Jesus rose for you. Jesus rose for saints and sinners, liberals and conservatives, old and young, and every glorious variety of human on this beautiful world in which we live.
In Easter we celebrate the triumph of God's grace and mercy over the powers of sin and death. The universe is changed, and for that we shout a hearty, "Alleluia!"
We worry though that some people have a momentary blip of Easter joy and then get on with business as usual, even though the cosmic powers of the status quo are permanently cast down.
Today we want to invite you to celebrate Easter for the full fifty days. There are lots of ways you can do that. Over at the 50 Days blog, you can find daily reflections for whole Easter season. Sign up to get daily emails, or just visit the site each day.
Tim and Scott have both written books to help you out. Scott's latest book, just published, is Easter Triumph, Easter Joy: Daily Meditations for the Fifty Days of Eastertide. You can get it in paper or start reading right away on your Kindle. Tim approached this time of year with humor in Dust Bunnies in the Basket: Finding God in Lent & Easter, also available in paper or for your Kindle.
You can decide to read the Book of Acts over the Easter season. Or commit to daily prayers. Write Alleluia on someone's sidewalk (in chalk!) every day. Find your own way to keep up the Easter joy.
Speaking of keeping up joy, there's one more annual appeal left for us to make. Forward Movement is proud to sponsor Lent Madness. It's a way to encourage more joy in a sometimes joy-less world and to help us see the ways Christ's light shines in the hearts of people of all cultures, races, types, and times. While we do sell some merch, we keep Lent Madness free for anyone who'd like to play.
Forward Movement offers other resources for free. If you or someone you know is wondering how to raise children in the faith, check out Grow Christians, a free resource for households with chidlren trying to sort out what it means to follow Jesus together. Forward Movement offers free podcasts, apps, and a rich daily prayer website, all for free. They also give over 100,000 books and booklets away for free each year, mostly to prisons, but also for hospitals, nursing homes, and military bases.
Everything Forward Movement does is made possible by the generosity of donors. If you are able to make a gift to help Forward Movement continue to share the Good News of God in Jesus Christ, your gift will make a difference. If you can't make a gift, that's OK too.
We wish you a joyous fifty days of Easter. Alleluia, Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia.