From the Editor

Easter disciplines, one day at a time

Michael L. Sherer

Michael L. Sherer

There is a time-honored custom of following spiritual disciplines during the season of Lent. Often these have taken the form of sacrificing or “giving something up.”

The value of Lenten disciplines lies in the way they help us to focus, as we move toward Good Friday, on the ultimate sacrifice for Christians. Once again we die to sin, as we remember our death and burial into Christ through baptism.

The problem with Lenten disciplines is that they continue only for a season. And Christians are not Lenten Folk as much as Easter People (those who live and walk in the light of Christ, through all of life’s seasons). Perhaps, then, we should focus even more on Easter disciplines, building those patterns of behavior which enable us to become more and more like Christ. Some call this “sanctification,” a process by which we grow, steadily, into holy living.

“I’m no saint,” many a Lutheran has been heard to say (although the apostle Paul tells us that, while still sinful, we actually are saints). Paul wants us to aspire to the sanctified life, to “grow up into Christ.” How, then, are sinner-saints to master the Easter disciplines — doing justice, caring for the poor, loving enemies, being Christ’s presence in the world? The simple — and difficult — answer is: one day at a time.

A legend from ancient Greece (which, due to its persistence in classical times, may have been historically true), tells of a young farm boy who aspired to success in the Pankration (“all powerful”) competition in the Olympic Games. He prepared in a very clever way. The week after a young calf was born, he lifted it with little difficulty. Every day thereafter, he returned to the pasture and lifted the same calf. Over the space of a few years, the animal became a heavy, fully-grown ox. The young man’s muscles adjusted to the increasing challenge. By the time he entered the Olympics, he was a well-muscled athlete, impossible to defeat.

Easter lasts a lifetime. So do the challenges of becoming Easter People. Let us grow up into Christ — one day at a time.