Well…Spring has sprung! We are on our way to some truly glorious days. Some rain will fall, flowers and trees will bud out, the whole of nature will be resounding in a triumphant display for all of us to take in. Easter is not quite here yet though, that doesn’t occur until March 31st.

Have you ever wondered why the date for Easter moves around on the calendar from year to year? There is a calculation that’s done to set the date for Easter each year. I’ll get to that in a minute. Easter can fall anywhere from March 22nd and April 18th. I’ve heard some folks say Easter is late or early this year. Not so, seems as if its smack dab in the middle of the possible range for the date of Easter.

On to the calculation to determine the date for Easter. The determining factor is partly related to the vernal equinox. This vernal equinox refers to the timing of when both hemispheres of our planet get an equal amount of sunlight. For the most part, the warmth of the sun falls unequally on the northern and southern halves of the planet, but on March 19th of this year, the sun fell equally on each hemisphere at 11:06 pm Eastern Daylight time. Okay, that was a lot to take in, but we’re not through yet. Easter falls on the first Sunday after the date of the Full Moon on or after March 21. If the Full Moon is on a Sunday, Easter is celebrated on the following Sunday.

Whew! That is a whole lot to go through to get to Easter, wouldn’t you say?

According to the Bible, Jesus’ death and resurrection occurred during the time of the Jewish passover. Passover is celebrated on the first Full Moon following the vernal equinox. In the early centuries, there was confusion as to when Easter would happen, but the Council of Nicea in the year 325 (AD for you older folks who know Anno Domini, or the more current CE which refers to the Common Era) established Easter would be celebrated on the first Sunday after the first Full Moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox.

I know that’s probably a lot more than any of us really want, or need to know. We just mainly want to know when we can end our fast, hide our Easter eggs, decorate and fill our Easter baskets, get our Easter outfilt together, and plan our Easter meal. Even though Easter is a huge celebration and marks a movement into the Spring of the year, I’m a little sad to see the season of Lent pass. Lent is such a meaningful time for me. I find real meaning in taking stock of the areas in my life that need to be cleaned out and adjusted. Taking stock of the ways I think and act in the world around me, builds up my spirit in untold ways. Recalling the steps of Jesus toward a place and time where the ultimate sacrifice would occur, gives me a deep understanding of how important I am to God.

But Spring is here, its in the air and it is going to be glorious. I’ve been sleeping with my windows open, relishing the cold crisp mornings and the sounds of nature that waft through the screens. I’m getting excited about celebrating resurrection. Resurrection will remind me once again, “nothing ever truly dies.” I’d love to take credit for that phrase, but I can’t. It comes from the 2008 film, The Day the Earth Stood Still. The alien, Klaatu, is standing in a graveyard with a child, Jacob Benson. Jacob had lost his father and had led Klaatu to his father’s grave. He wants him to bring his father back to life. Klaatu says, “There are some things I can’t do.” Jacob insists, “But you have powers.” Klaatu demurs, “I’m sorry.” Jacob pleads, “Please. Please!” Klaatu tells him, “Jacob, nothing ever truly dies. The universe wastes nothing. Everything is simply, transformed.”

This is what Spring reminds me of. The transformation from death to life. That’s what Jesus reminds us of too. Jesus tried to communicate to us, life doesn’t end in death, that’s merely transformation. God didn’t create us in order for us to live a short while and simply disappear. We are much more precious than that. We are an essential part of God’ intention, and we will never cease to exist.

I hope and pray you are looking forward to celebrating the risen Christ as much as I am. Spring is in the air, and God’s love is abounding. Join with me in praising God for yet another time of renewal and re-creation. God is not through with you, or me. We are about to experience resurrection in our lives and the lives of those around us. Get ready, be ready, and let God transform us into beings of love and light.

Your companion on the Way,

Pastor Tom

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