Christians around the world will celebrate Easter. More than a single day's celebration, Easter highlights the culmination of a season of preparation and discipline known as the 40 days of Lent.

For the Christian, Lent officially comes to a close on the evening of Maundy Thursday, which is then followed by the Great Three Days (Triduum) of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter. These three days are the pinnacle of the whole of the church year, when, like many of the world's religions, the discipline observed through preceding days of prayer, fasting and self-examination culminate in a great festival celebration. Though Easter is sometimes regarded as a single Sunday, it is properly observed through the following 50 days, signifying something so important that its observance cannot be limited to one 24-hour period.

Like all churches, we gladly and delightedly welcome one and all to our Easter celebrations. For Christians this is a time of great rejoicing, a time to celebrate the power of hope and of the resurrection of our Lord who has overcome death. It is also a time for us to consider anew all that has been given to us by God and all that we have learned in these days of preparation and observance. Like many traditions, the numbers who attend the festival celebrations outweigh those who have been observing, as faithfully as possible, the days leading up to the Easter celebration. As I indicated, we welcome one and all to the Easter celebrations. We also gently invite and encourage those willing to discover the insight and wisdom that comes through the "practice" of Lent.

Though we are still in the midst of Lent, the learning of this special practice will linger. For those who sought to incorporate a discipline, whether fasting, spiritual reading, meditating or doing for others, the learning gleaned through these days remains. Hopefully we are stronger, wiser, more resilient and more clear about the priorities and meaning of our lives. Rather than forgoing "the practice" observed through the time of Lent, we choose to incorporate that discipline through Easter's 50 days, and every day of our lives. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "We die when we refuse to stand up for that which is right. We die when we refuse to take a stand for that which is true. So we are going to stand up right here ... letting the world know that we are determined to be free."

Our determination to be free, our learning of what is right and what is true has come, for many of us, through the spiritual disciplines with which we have struggled in the long and difficult hours before the big celebrations of our lives. Like homework; like practice on the flute, violin, balance beam, soccer or lacrosse field; like rehearsal after rehearsal before the big recital or final performance; so much of our learning comes through the daily discipline and the practice of our everyday lives. It is in the simple and everyday that the great truths are revealed. And therefore we incorporate the learning of Lent realizing what is right and what is truth and what is good and useful for all. It is in these days we learn simply and sometimes quite dramatically the deepest truth and wonder of our lives.

More Information

CHRIST AND HOLY TRINITY EPISCOPAL CHURCH 55 Myrtle Ave., Westport 06880 203-227-0827 / www.chtwestport.org HISTORY: Christ Church was built in 1884 and merged with Memorial Church of the Holy Trinity in 1944. NUMBER OF PARISHIONERS: about 1,000

CHRIST AND HOLY TRINITY EPISCOPAL CHURCH

55 Myrtle Ave., Westport 06880

203-227-0827 / www.chtwestport.org

HISTORY: Christ Church was built in 1884 and merged with Memorial Church of the Holy Trinity in 1944.

NUMBER OF PARISHIONERS: about 1,000