The name “Brighter Walk” came as a result of much prayer and a revelation from God through His Word found in Proverbs 4:18: “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day.” Made righteous by God’s grace alone, through Christ, we are set on a path toward heaven, a journey of growth in and toward the brilliance of God’s light. So when I heard this week was called “Bright Week”, I couldn’t wait to find out more.
I learned about this tradition through Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, who posted on his blog a week ago that he would be recharging his “spiritual batteries” during the weeks before and after Easter. According to Wikipedia, Bright Week is a whole week the faithful in the holy churches should continually be repeating psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, rejoicing and celebrating Christ, and attending to the reading of the Divine Scriptures and delighting in the Holy Mysteries (the holy sacraments). It’s also referred to as “Renewal Week”.
Many Christian denominations like mine don’t celebrate this week. Many even shudder at the thought of such man-made traditions, knowing how Jesus spoke of them while here in his earthly ministry. “And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men”” (Mark 7:6-8).
Yet some church traditions do not leave the truth of God’s Word at all, but rather hang their hat on it. Bright Week may be an example. I can see where great benefit could be drawn from a “pause”, a time that Hyatt says he will “take a break and get re-focused on (his) ultimate priorities.”
The true joy in tradition is found by returning to its initiation. Who thought up the idea? Why? In what scripture is it rooted? How can the spirit of the idea be recaptured today? The danger in tradition is that it may overshadow the Word of God, that Christ may be lost altogether in the midst of ritual and of human efforts to perform, that human action once rooted in truth becomes mere tradition for tradition’s sake. On the other hand, the challenge to those of us who lack such traditions is to recognize their varied purposes throughout the year – such as for Bright Week, to celebrate the joy of renewal through Christ each and every day. Do we continually rejoice and celebrate Christ and what he has done for us on a daily basis, or just on Easter?
Hyatt piqued my interest with his departure for Bright Week. I applaud his journey to “Push the Pause Button” to renew his appreciation for the resurrection of Jesus, and to advertise it to the thousands who follow his blog. As Paul wrote, “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:13-14)
Our faith is in Christ alone to save, because of His perfect sacrifice for our sins, and because of God’s supernatural resurrection power to raise us from death to life everlasting with Him. This indeed is a reason to pause and “brightly” rejoice!