In the church’s calendar, Easter Sunday is the most important day of the year. It is the day that reshapes everything we know about God, the creation and humanity. Easter is also the first “feast” or “festival” day observed by the earliest Christians, becoming the focal point of how the church understood itself. One of the questions that rose out of this was, “how do we live, now that Jesus has been raised from the dead?” This remains a relevant question. Easter is so important that for the church the other 51 Sundays of the year are understood to be miniature celebrations of Easter.
You may have noticed that Easter isn’t the same Sunday every year. In fact, the date of Easter Sunday can swing wildly from year to year, being anywhere from late March [as early as March 22] to mid-to late April [as late as April 25]. Why is this? Back in the year 325 at the Council of Nicaea it was decided that the date of Easter in any given year would be the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the vernal equinox [for church purposes, the vernal equinox is always March 21]. Did you get that? That means that this year  the first full moon on or after March 21 happens to be on March 31. The first Sunday after March 31 is April 1. Easter! This method of dating Easter puts it in the proximity of Passover, which corresponds with the story of Holy Week. [If you happen to be Orthodox – which I’m assuming you’re not if you’re reading this – there are a number of other quirks that make this calculation a bit different.]
And now, for something you have probably never thought about… We experience Easter as a springtime holiday. As flowers pop up, trees begin to bud, and the grass gets green these things serve as visual reminders of the renewal of all of creation the resurrection of Jesus points to. If you happen to live in, say, Australia, the season they are entering into right now is fall. Yep, fall. There, things are beginning to die back. I’m sure you can imagine the challenge this presents.