Sunday, Pentecost, will be the final day of Easter. Of course, there is no prohibition on remembering the Resurrection at any time. But the 50 days of remembering Easter this year will draw to a close tomorrow, on a day that is devoted to remembering the events of Pentecost, which followed the Ascension.
So today (Saturday) is the last day of this Easter to most easily recall the Resurrection in and of itself. I have an easier time finding paintings and other artwork inspired by the crucifixion, a more difficult time finding art about the Resurrection. I do not know why, but I could speculate. The cross, it is said, naturally divides a canvas. In the pictures shown here, in fact, the shape of a cross divides the picture although it is a picture of the Resurrection.
But, perhaps, it is nice this year to have Pentecost Sunday fall within Memorial Day, giving us in the U.S. a little more time to rest, to think about the various things this week-end represents.
In our country, of course, Memorial Day brings to mind those who have died in wars, past and present. This year, the observance of Memorial Day will be the day after Pentecost. That deserves its own space, its own day. And Pentecost deserves its own space, its own day, remembered as Pentecost and not as the Sunday of Memorial Day week--end.
And today deserves its own space too. It is the last precious day to remember the Resurrection, in its own right. The last two days of Easter, a celebration of Jesus' life Resurrected, of our own hope for life beyond the grave, and also of our lives now in Christ, with Christ living in us as the Resurrected Lord, a down payment on life beyond the grave, they are a celebration that the Cross, as important as it is, did not have the last word. For the Gospel is about both sin and redemption, both the Cross and the Resurrection. The Cross, for all its artistic beauty, did not have the last word. The Father had the last word when the Son rose from the grave.
And for anyone who tired of sacrifice during Lent, now is a time of grace, of free gifts. For anyone whose sadness over the crucifixion needed healing, now is the time for healing. For anyone who tired of remembering their sins, now is the time for remembering God's grace and the gift of eternal life. While we can remember that all the year, the Church season specifically devoted to it will draw to a close on Sunday.
So, for one of the last times I can say it this year: Happy Easter!