2017-04-20 / Island Life

Join with others in Easter journey

Pastor’s pen
Tom Dietzel

Grace to you and peace from our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

Easter Day has passed. It is the primary celebration of the Christian Church — not Christmas, as society and our Western World might dictate. Easter Day is the name of the Sunday; other appropriate names are “the Resurrection of our Lord,” and Sunday of the Resurrection. In fact, the word Easter never appears in scripture. It is an English word derived from the name of a Germanic goddess of fertility, a Spring celebration that gives us some of our common activities and characters in the secular celebrations of Easter Day — think eggs, bunny rabbits, chicks and all those sweet treats.

The Eastern Orthodox, or officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, the second largest Christian church in the world which is principally located in Greece, Eastern Europe, and Russia, uses the Julian calendar as opposed to our Gregorian configuration of months in the year. Their calculation of the Sunday of the Resurrection of our Lord is different. They call it Pascha, from the Passover term of Christ being the Pascal (sacrificial) lamb.

The Coptic Orthodox Church, which is the largest in Egypt, Northeast Africa, and the Middle East (Syria, Iraq, Iran, Jordan), figures Easter Sunday the same as the Western Church, though their calendar structure is much different.

The celebration of the Sunday of our Lord’s Resurrection is the most sacred day in the lives of our brother and sister Christians around the world. Common, too, is that the season we call Easter is more than a day; it is the 50 days that follow Easter Sunday. For Christians of the major world churches, it is a time of reflection and celebration as we seek to expand our understanding of the gracious act of forgiveness. We seek to rededicate ourselves to the joyous life in the kingdom of God and God’s call in our lives — lives lived all over this planet, not just in North America and Western culture.

The attacks on the Coptic Churches on Palm/Passion Sunday (the Sunday before Easter Day) was grievous to all religious people. They are our Christian brothers and sisters, so are those who flee the terrors of life in far off ancient biblical places. They celebrate the same Lord, the same Resurrection event, and the call to life in the light of Jesus the Christ. The season of Easter is upon us all. All those who confess Christ as Lord are of the same family.

On Resurrection Sunday, many of us gather as families. We chase after eggs, bunnies and sweet treats. We hear the most important story in all of creation. Traditions may differ, languages be unfamiliar, even dates may vary, but the same Lord is worshiped. During this Easter season, expand your family to include not just those in your local church or denomination. Realize you are part of the Christian family, and it is made up of all nations, languages, races, and genders. May each of us join in the journey of Easter in the prayerful companionship of all others who are grateful for God’s saving act of love and forgiveness.

Until next time, may the waves never stop and the gratitudes never end. Amen.

Tom Dietzel is a retired Lutheran clergyman who conducts Lutheran services at Trinity-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Port Aransas.

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