A Word From the Pastor

February 2016


Trivia question: What is the earliest date Easter can be? (No checking on the internet!)

Easter is always the first Sunday following the first full moon on or after the spring equinox.

Of course, that is using the Gregorian Calendar not the Julian Calendar for the calculations. And it’s not the same in the Eastern Church as it is in the Western Church (Protestantism and Roman Catholicism are considered Western Churches.). And of course, you have to know if you are talking about the astronomical equinox or the ecclesiastical equinox (the latter is always March 21st). And don’t forget about the paschal full moon.

Protestants, including United Methodist, use the Gregorian Calendar and the ecclesiastical equinox to calculate the date. So, if the ecclesiastical equinox is on a Saturday and is also a full moon, Easter would be March 22nd. This is the earliest date it can be. In 2016 we are close to that date; the full moon is March 23rd which is a Wednesday. Thus, Easter Sunday is March 27, 2016. Isn’t that fun! I actually enjoy playing with the formula. If you want to continue you can calculate the latest possible date for Easter. You can also do some internet research on when we’ll next have the earliest or latest Easter date. (Hint: most of us will not witness either event.)

While I have a lot of fun with it, the date of Easter is nowhere as important as the reason why we have Easter. Known as Resurrection Day it is our celebration of Jesus’ rising from the dead. It is our affirmation of the potency of God’s love and forgiveness. It is the day when the wonder and awe of life & life eternal is not just affirmed but we are invited to participate in it fully and completely. It is the day when the power of God’s presence in our lives is so real it’s tangible. It is the day when God is at God’s best. And we rejoice in it.

So join us on our journey to Easter. Because Easter is March 27th Ash Wednesday starts our Lenten journey on February 10th. We will begin our 40 day journey to Easter with an Ash Wednesday service at 7:30 pm in the sanctuary.

Which brings us to our next trivia question: How is it that Lent is 40 days but it begins on February 10th – 46 days before Easter? You can call (499-7310) or email us at mail@commack-umc.org with your answer.


Peace, Rev. Lynda Bates-Stepe