Easter 2021 - Reflection by Reverend Ella Sharples
Reverend Ella Sharples has written a short article about Easter and what it means to Christians, why the date it is celebrated changes each year, and how it gave rise to the start of a 'new normal'.
As the most important Christian festival you might expect Easter to have a set date, like Christmas, but Easter is actually determined by events in the Jewish calendar. This is because in the Bible, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus happened at the time of the Jewish festival of Passover, and in the early days of the church they wanted to retain these links to the Passover with its rich theological imagery and history.
There is a confusing sounding way to find out when Easter Sunday will be: it falls on the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon, the first full moon after the vernal equinox, but a much easier way of finding out when Easter will be in any particular year is to just do what most Christian clergy do, and google it.
The Christian festival of Easter celebrates events that exploded what people had always thought was the normal way of things and put it all back together in a new way.
If Easter symbolises anything for Christians it points to life after death. To the new life that Jesus was raised to, and the promise that he has paved the way for others. It speaks to God’s solution to the old normal. “When will things get back to normal” is a phrase that’s often repeated during these Covid times. I’m sure that if Jesus had been asked that question he would have replied with an enigmatic: “What is normal?” Will things ever return to normal? Definitely not. Things never return exactly as they were before: there will be a new normal.
The first followers of Jesus spent the days after his death hiding away, fearful that his death meant the end of all they had known. Things would never go back to how they were before. According to the Bible account, when the risen Jesus came and stood among them, their understanding of God’s power was turned on its head. It took them a while to lean into it, to trust it, and to begin to unpack what the consequences were – and to live with the hope, day by day, that God’s love was stronger than death.
Easter Sunday celebrates Jesus rising from the dead to a new everlasting life. It represents a hope of a new start, a new direction, a new future, and a new normal.
Reverend Ella Sharples