SCRIPTURE: Psalm 145:1-2, New International Version
I will proclaim your greatness, my God and king;
I will thank you forever and ever.
Every day I will thank you;
I will praise you forever and ever.
WHEN IS EASTER?
We don’t know!
That’s the simple answer. Our church ancestors decided that Easter was the first Sunday after the first full moon of spring, which is why it keeps changing dates. This year Easter officially falls on April 12, although the Eastern Orthodox Church will celebrate it a week later. Easter can land on any date from March 22 to April 25. We also don’t know when Jesus was actually born, but that’s a different story.
But we do know this, and proclaim it: that Jesus was born, died and resurrected, and that Jesus is alive today. It has been said that every Sunday is a little Easter, because it proclaims the living Lord.
On Monday, “the CDC recommended that no gatherings with 50 people or more take place for the next eight weeks.” Our president lowered the number to 10. The Catholic Churches of Long Island have officially cancelled services for the next month, including Easter.
Easter? We can’t miss Easter!
Well, we can’t miss Easter, because we’re not exactly sure when Easter is supposed to be.
Here’s a story I shared with Church Council on Monday night. When I was in my 20s, I visited a remote outpost of Kenya at Thanksgiving. I was really looking forward to see how they celebrated Thanksgiving in Africa. (This shows you how smart I was back then.) I was heartbroken when no one there even knew what Thanksgiving was! My meal that night was beans.
After I returned home, a couple in my church invited me over for dinner. I was expecting a normal dinner, but when I got to their house, I realized that it was a full Thanksgiving dinner, with all the trimmings! It was one of the best meals I ever had, even before I took a bite. I was even more thankful than I would have been on the official Thanksgiving Day!
Our Church Council decided that we are not going to miss Easter. We are in fact going to celebrate all of our Holy Week services: Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday (including the sunrise service). We just might have them later than April 12. I’m really psyched about this and hope that you are too! So if we’re still under lockdown in mid-April, we’ll have TWO Holy Weeks ~ one at home that week and one with each other later.
Many churches celebrate an event called “Christmas in July,” which has the same premise: every day we live in the light of God’s love. We know Jesus was born, died and was resurrected. We know that the living Christ walks with us, and talks with us, along life’s narrow way. Every day can be Christmas and Easter for a person of faith. We also know Jesus walks with us in our valleys, and often carries us. He carries his own cross, and bears the weight of our sin. Every day we live in the knowledge that he suffered and died out of love for us ~ so every day is Holy Thursday and Good Friday as well.
I hope this gives you something to look forward to in this time of uncertainty. We will not miss Easter; in fact, we’ll double it! May the Lord bless us as we walk forward in faith.