Church News - March


Easter is now celebrated by the Church as a Christian holiday in most parts of the world, but it began as an ancient pagan holiday celebrating spring in the Northern Hemisphere, long before the advent of Christianity. This pagan festival celebrated fertility, renewal and new life. It praised the pagan goddess of spring, known as Ostara, Eastre or Eostre. Hence, the name Easter evolved from her name over time.

Easter began to be celebrated as Christian festival early in the common era and by mid-second century it was an established festival. It was not uncommon for Christians to connect their celebrations to those already well established. The Jewish Passover and the pagan Spring Equinox celebration seemed to fall at an appropriate time to Christians. Their beliefs that Jesus died, was raised from the dead (during the week of Passover in about 33 C.E.) and that his being raised gave hope of new and continuing life to believers made this the perfect time of year to celebrate.

This year Easter comes in March. Why?

Well, according to Wikipedia, Easter and the holidays that are related to it are moveable feasts in that they do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian or Julian calendars (both of which follow the cycle of the sun and the seasons). Instead, the date for Easter is determined on a lunisolar calendar, which is similar to the Hebrew calendar.

The First Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.) established two rules, independence of the Jewish calendar and worldwide uniformity, which were the only rules for Easter explicitly laid down by the council. No details for the computation were specified; these were worked out in practice, a process that took centuries and generated a number of controversies. In particular, the council did not decree that Easter must fall on Sunday, but this was already the practice almost everywhere. In western Christianity, using the Gregorian calendar, Easter always falls on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25, within about seven days after the full moon.

This year, Trinity Church here in Point Roberts will be celebrating Palm Sunday on Sunday, March 24. It is an excellent time to come and hear the story of Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, and of the Jewish people, who believing their messiah – their new king and savior – had come, began waving palms branches and crying, “Hosanna, in the highest.” But something went horribly wrong.

What happened between that joyous parade and the execution? Believe it or not, it is a story everyone should hear at least once in their life.

The following Sunday, March 31, Trinity Church will celebrate the Christian festival of Easter. We will celebrate our belief that Jesus’ death and resurrection offers all people new life – no matter what they have done or left undone.

Please join us on one or both Sundays, March 24 and 31, at 11 a.m., at Trinity Church, 1880 APA Road. All are welcome! Blessed Easter to all.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here