2016 March

March 2016

Dear Friends,

Easter falls early this year on 27th March. We are more used to Easter in April, but the lunar calendar by which Easter is set doesn’t always agree with our Gregorian calendar, resulting in variations in the date.  Following the Council of Nicaea of 325 AD, Easter was set as the first Sunday following the first full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox. The vernal equinox is normally set as 21st March.

The earliest date for Easter that I have found was 22nd March, occurring in 1693, 1761 and 1818 but won’t occur again until 2285. The latest date is 25th April,, occurring in 1886 and 1943, and will again occur in 2038 assuming the Nicean algorithm is still used to calculate its date.

If you’re not confused already, the Easter Act  of parliament of 1921 redefined Easter as the first Sunday after the second Saturday in April, however this was never enacted.

It can be very frustrating, especially to educationalists and others who are accustomed to having an Easter break, to find that it fluctuates by so much. Far easier, some would say, to have it on a fixed day. I understand that the 18th April has been suggested. Some have given up, and indeed this year for Liverpool and Sefton, the date of Easter falls outside the school holidays.

Certainly this year, it has seemed but the blink of an eye between the end of Christmas festivities and the beginning of Lent.

We discussed this at a recent meeting of the Ministers’ Fraternal, and someone far wiser than me pointed out that with its variations of date, Easter reminds us that it is not all about us. Easter is about God and what he did for us through Jesus on the cross. The inconvenience of a moveable Easter celebration reminds us of a cross that was more than just inconvenient to God, costing him his Son.

While we claim Jesus as the Prince of Peace, he did not come to make us comfortable. He calls us to take up our cross, just as he took up his. Following Christ is not about us and having things to suit ourselves. He commanded his followers to go out into the whole world, baptising and making disciples – going and making a difference to the world in the name of Christ.

Being a Christian means living a life that is in step with his mission to the world, denying our own comfort and ambitions and following him. Whether you are a newborn Christian or someone who has been following Christ all your life, whether you see yourself on the edge of the church community or are ordained to ministry, Christ’s call is for us all.

Our Christian lives are much more than an hour on a Sunday, but are indeed all of our lives. Every waking moment is available to God to use for his glory and for his mission. Similarly, our being a church is not for our benefit, although we do benefit greatly. We, as a Methodist Church, are called to exist not for ourselves but for others. If we gain from being part of the church, it is to prepare us to serve more. Being a Christian is not so much about us and our salvation as it is about bringing the news of salvation to others, no matter how inconvenient that may be to us.

Have a blessed Easter.





Page last updated: 2nd May 2016 12:21 PM