moon phases
 

Easter, 2003

Click here to see the Easter Card in Adobe Acrobat format

As I write it is the week before Easter. Everyone knows that the date of Easter is regulated by the phases of the moon. Linked historically with the Jewish Passover, Easter is the first Sunday after the full moon after the spring Equinox. (If you keep looking up this web page you will be able to observe the phases of the moon in real time - and you will be able to check that the full moon occurs on the 17th April).
With Christians all over the world we will be remembering with thanksgiving all that Jesus is and was and all that he did as Son of man, reading in the gospels the accounts of his life and in the epistles reading some of the theological reflections of the early Christians on what his life and death meant. This will have its culmination each day in the eucharist, right through from Maundy Thursday to Easter Day itself.
Traditionally it has been the custom in the church to refrain from celebrating the eucharist on Good Friday and Holy Saturday. There have been many reasons given for this. It is said that the early church never celebrated the eucharist on those days. But in fact, as far as we know, the eucharist was only celebrated normally on the Sunday in the first three centuries. During the past century it has become common to celebrate the eucharist each day, particularly in religious communities. So it is strange to stop celebrating this central act of Christiam worship on Good Friday and Holy Saturday! Others say, more recently, that there has to be a sense of entering into the darkness of God on Good Friday, the day of Jesus' execution. But Paul says that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. There is no sense in the New Testament that we must have days without eucharistic worship to reflect on the death of Jesus. Jesus, our Lord is always dynamically present to the church and to the world. We do not have to wait until Easter Day to realise this. Worship is always Easter worship and so at the annual celebration all the days are full of joy. It is also true that every day is the time for reflecting on what the life of Jesus means for ourselves and for the whole cosmos.
Have a very good Easter celebration! Alleluia!

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