While we prepare to celebrate Easter in isolation, it’s probably a good time to reflect on Easter and its meaning. Easter in the Eastern Church is also called Pascha (from the Greek Πάσχα) which refers back to the Passover festival.
In the time of Jesus, the Jewish Passover was a time that brought God’s people together in Jerusalem to commemorate the exodus from Egypt. They would celebrate by offering a paschal lamb, sacrificed during the Passover to remember that original Passover in Exodus. By doing this they remembered how God had rescued them. Likewise Easter is a time to remember how God has rescued us.
While for many in Australia, Easter is a day for chocolate and family, for the Church Easter is more than just a Sunday. Referred to in the lectionary is “The great fifty days of Easter” the Easter seasons will include eight Sundays beginning with the Easter Vigil and concluding on the Day of Pentecost. The season celebrates the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
For these 50 days we are called to reflect on the character and nature of God, as a God who would be daring enough to leave heaven and experience death for our sake. We are called to reflect on our own character, and how we walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Finally, we are called to prepare to experience Pentecost, as the moment where the infant Church is empowered to continue the ministry that began with Jesus so many years ago. C.S. Lewis wrote
“The Christian story is precisely the story of one grand miracle, the Christian assertion being that what is beyond all space and time, what is uncreated, eternal, came into nature, into human nature descended into his own universe and rose again, bringing nature up with him. It is precisely one great miracle. If you take that away there is nothing specifically Christian left.”
During Easter, we remember that the “one grand miracle” of the resurrection is not only the core of the faith, it’s core to the identity of every Christian. We might be asking how we can continue ministry in times like this? How can we be Church during Easter in isolation? Well it starts with the Resurrection.
Just as the great 50 days of Easter starts by celebrating the empty tomb, our ministry starts when we bear witness to Jesus in our lives. By seeking Jesus in prayer and Scripture.
The truth is, even now there is no such thing as Easter in isolation. No matter where we are and who is with us, Easter is always celebrated with Jesus.
He is Risen.