You may have heard or read about the possibility of “fixing the date of Easter”. It is not a new idea, and in relatively recent times two proposals have been made. Back in 1923 the Pan-Orthodox Congress of Constantinople came up with a similar idea and though it was rejected by the Orthodox Churches and not really considered at all by the Western Churches it spurred a debate. Indeed in 1928 a law was passed in the United Kingdom authorising an Order in Council which would fix the date of Easter in that country as the first Sunday after the second Saturday in April.
Whilst this was never implemented it shows there was a high level of support in the UK; the problem then, as now, was getting agreement across the Christian world. More recently the World Council of Churches (WCC) proposed a reform of the method of determining the date of Easter at a summit in Aleppo, Syria, in 1997 (a city so much in our news as I write this). But again efforts faltered. Only time will tell whether this round of negotiations, which have been going on quietly in the background for the last couple of years, will bear fruit.
Whenever Easter is celebrated it is the most important festival in the Christian calendar. It celebrates the resurrection from the dead of Jesus, three days after he was executed. The Easter story is at the heart of Christianity and we will be holding services to commemorate the key events of Holy Week.
Palm Sunday is the first day of Holy Week and celebrates Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem riding on a donkey. Crowds of people came out of the city to greet him, throwing down palm branches on the road.
Maundy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter Day, when Christians remember Jesus ate the Passover meal with his disciples, breaking bread and drinking wine, which is now known as the Last Supper.
Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday. It commemorates the execution of Jesus by crucifixion.
Easter Sunday marks Jesus’ resurrection. After Jesus was crucified on the Friday his body was taken down from the cross, and buried in a cave tomb. The tomb was guarded by Roman Soldiers and an enormous stone was put over the entrance, so that no-one could steal the body. On the Sunday, Mary Magdalene, followed later by some of Jesus’ disciples visited the tomb and found that the stone had been moved, and that Jesus’ body had gone.
I do hope you will be able to join us for these services but be assured that if you are unable to join with us in person your prayers will be appreciated and we will certainly remember you in our prayers. Let us celebrate Easter together.