Saturday, April 4, 2015

Wishing You A Blessed Easter Sunday

Easter Sunday April 5 2015
Image result for easter 2015
 Is a spring festival that celebrates the central event of the Christian faith: the resurrection of Christ three days after his death by crucifixion? {1} Easter is the oldest Christian holiday and the most important day of the church year. 

All the Christian movable feasts and the entire liturgical year of worship are arranged around Easter. 

Easter Sunday is preceded by the season of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting and repentance culminating in Holy Week, and followed by a 50-day Easter Season that stretches from Easter to Pentecost. 

The origins of the word "Easter" are not certain, but probably derive from Estre, an Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring {2}

The German word Ostern has the same derivation, but most other languages follow the Greek term used by the early Christians: pascha, from the Hebrew pesach (Passover). 

There is evidence that Christians originally celebrated the resurrection of Christ every Sunday, with observances such as Scripture readings, psalms, the Eucharist, and a prohibition against kneeling in prayer. {6} At some point in the first two centuries, however, it became customary to celebrate the resurrection specially on one day each year. Many of the religious observances of this celebration were taken from the Jewish Passover. The specific day on which the resurrection should be celebrated became a major point of contention within the church. First, should it be on Jewish Passover no matter on what day that falls, or should it always fall on a Sunday? Nevertheless, the church majority officially decided that Easter should always be celebrated on a Sunday. Eusebius of Caesarea, our only source on this topic, reports the affair as follows:

A question of no small importance arose at that time [c. 190 AD]. The dioceses of all Asia, as from an older tradition, held that the fourteenth day of the moon, on which day the Jews were commanded to sacrifice the lamb, should always be observed as the feast of the life-giving pasch, contending that the fast ought to end on that day, whatever day of the week it might happen to be. However it was not the custom of the churches in the rest of the world to end it at this point, as they observed the practice, which from Apostolic tradition has prevailed to the present time, of terminating the fast on no other day than on that of the Resurrection of our Savior. Synods and assemblies of bishops were held on this account, and all with one consent through mutual correspondence drew up an ecclesiastical decree that the mystery of the Resurrection of the Lord should be celebrated on no other day but the Sunday and that we should observe the close of the paschal fast on that day only. {7}
With this issue resolved, the next problem was to determine which Sunday to celebrate the resurrection. 

Rabbits and eggs, for example, are widely-used pagan symbols for fertility.
 Image result for easter
Christians view the Easter eggs as symbols of joy and celebration (as they were forbidden during the fast of Lent) and of new life and resurrection. A common custom is to hide brightly colored eggs for children to find

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