1 Apr 2019 • From Elizabeth, our Vicar
Easter is never on time! Have you noticed that? When people talk about Easter they’re usually referring to the fact that Easter is early, or they’re saying that Easter is late. Nobody ever says that Easter is on time!
In 325 CE, the Council of Nicaea established that Easter would be held on the first Sunday after the first full-moon occurring on or after the spring equinox. This year Easter is late; in fact it’s very late, and that’s because in March the full-moon arrives on the same day as the equinox.
- The date of Easter is set as the first Sunday after the first full-moon after the spring equinox.
- The ecclesiastical approximation of the spring equinox is always set as 21st March.
- This year the full-moon in March coincides with the equinox on 21st March.
And so we have to wait for the whole lunar cycle to go around again, which means that the first full-moon after the spring equinox occurs on Friday 19th April. The first Sunday after that is 21st April, and so this year Easter is the latest that it can be. (The earliest date of Easter would be 23rd March.)
Which means that here at the beginning of April we’re in the midst of Lent – keeping our Lenten disciplines as best we can, whether that be reading, praying, caring for others, living a more ordered life. Some days we’ll be succeeding and some days we won’t be managing things quite so coherently. Even so, in faith, we travel with Jesus towards the events of Holy Week, and ultimately to Easter Day and the celebration of resurrection. And as we do so we may ponder on these words from the famous Easter sermon by St John Chrysostom. He says:
Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord!
First and last alike, receive your reward.
Rich and poor, rejoice together!
Conscientious and lazy, celebrate the day!
You who have kept the fast, and you who have not,
rejoice, this day, for the table is bountifully spread!
With blessings for a joyful Easter time,