From Pastor Dave Dockweiler
Easter is one of those moveable feasts. Christmas is always Dec. 25th. There a few other holidays where the actual date might move a bit – such as Mother’s Day as the 2nd Sunday, Father’s Day as the 3rd Sunday and Thanksgiving as the 4th Thursday – but Easter can be any day within a 4-5 week time frame in March and April.
The establishment of which Sunday will be Easter is determined by the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox (in the northern hemisphere). How’s that for a formula?!! This is according to the Gregorian calendar unlike the Julian calendar which many Orthodox churches observe.
The earliest Easter can be is March 22nd (last occurred in 1818 and not again until 2285) and the latest is April 25th (last time = 1943 and next time will be 2038).
This moveable date also affects when Ash Wednesday falls (40 days, excluding Sundays before Easter) and Pentecost (50 days after Easter). It also indicates how long is our season of Epiphany (time between Christmas and Lent) as well as the weeks after Pentecost (from Pentecost Sunday until Advent. All these weeks we use green for our paraments – time of growth & discipleship).
This is more than just a bit of trivia, but points to a greater truth to the nature of our identity as Christians. While Christmas may hold sway in our culture, it is Easter and the resurrection that is at the core of who we are as a people of God. Jesus’ birth would mean little if we did not have Easter. Even at his birth, there were signs that pointed us to this reality – Magi’s gifts of gold royalty; frankincense for prayer and the myrrh that is used for burial.
Easter and Christ’s resurrection points us to the promise that there is life that comes out of death, new possibilities when hope has been damaged. Brokenness is healed and relationships can be restored.
The date of Easter moves – which is most fitting when we see ourselves as Easter people, as those who walk in the way of the resurrection. As we gather to celebrate the joy and the promise of Easter, we see what it means to be a
person of faith, trusting in God’s promises. Easter is not a date on the calendar but a way of life.
May you live the hope and promise of Christ’s resurrection this day and all days!
See you on Sunday,
Our New Mission Statement
We have a new mission statement. “Inspiring change by following Jesus.” Our church council members have been working at this for a couple of months. I am so proud of the collaborative effort. We prayed about what God is doing through this place, we debated, and revised. I am so happy with the final product. “Inspiring change by following Jesus” is why this place exists, why this community meets and what we are set on doing.
INSPIRING The angels inspired the shepherds to run to see the new born Jesus, the Spirit inspired the disciples to march with purpose out of the upper room where they were hiding after the death of Jesus and throughout the ages people have been inspired to share their faith with others. Through this inspiration people have been moved with compassion and it is the fuel that moves the church. “Inspiring” also is a means of how we are to function. We don’t use fear to scare others into faith (we know that doesn’t work) we show them what God has done in our lives and we invite them to wonder about what God can do in theirs. Being inspired to do something new is invitational, just like Jesus.
CHANGE Something is out-of-whack in our world, in our communities and within ourselves. One of the founders of the church, the Apostle Paul, wrote that he doesn’t understand what he does, and he does the stuff he hates. Change is hard, it takes time and tons of effort to redirect our efforts at times. We read countless stories in the Bible of Jesus meeting people in the most random places of their lives and offering them something far better. Physical, spiritual and mental healing, reconnecting someone with their community, lifting those that have been ostracized by others-Jesus brings change and we welcome God’s changes in our lives.
BY Here is how this inspired change is going to happen. Spoiler alert, it isn’t because of what we do.
FOLLOWING Jesus asks his disciples to leave their comfort zones. They walked away from jobs, family, friends, a life that they knew-to follow Jesus into one where they didn’t know much, except for the Rabbi. “Following” admits that we don’t know exactly where we are headed or how to get there. It is an act of humble worship and great trust to allow Jesus to lead our community and our lives.
JESUS Our leader, our rabbi, the one who has come into our lives and invited us into something greater. God’s dreams are better then our own, God’s vision for our lives is far more colorful and fun than we could imagine, so come join us in following our amazing God into a world we hardly knew existed.
Well that’s all good and nice, but how do we actually do it? There are three values that we uplift which will make our missional goal a reality.
First, we “worship to deepen our connections.” Using the cross itself as an example, we worship to connect with God (the vertical) and we worship alongside each other to connect with one another (the horizontal). If our worship doesn’t bring us closer to God or others, than we are doing something wrong.
Secondly, we value “education to challenge our understanding of God.” Growth always means some level of discomfort, and we welcome the challenge of seeing God in new ways. We need to push ourselves to see God in places and faces that we would have overlooked without becoming aware.
Lastly, we do what Jesus did. “Service with others to change the world.” Jesus often brought people into his miracles to change the world around them. Changing the world is a big job but doing so means that we begin with God changing our world. We invite God into our lives to give us a glimpse of what God is up to, and what we are being invited into and we join together to get to work making God’s kingdom show up on earth.