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From The Chaplain's Desk
From The Chaplain's Desk: Easter Joy
 

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  April 5, 2018 --

Easter triumph, Easter joy!

This alone can sin destroy;

From the death of

Sin set free,

Souls reborn,

O Lord we’ll be.

Alleluia!

We cannot be certain when the early Church first started celebrating Easter, but it seems to have been w ell established by the mid second century [circa 150 A.D.]. It was referred to a s t he Day of the Resurrection, and was celebrated on the Sunday closest to the time of the Jewish Passover feast, which in turn was determined by the first full moon on or after the first day of spring. Originally it was not called Easter, but bore the Greek name Pascha, close to the Hebrew Pesach [Passover in Hebrew]. The French call it Paques, and in Spanish it is Pascua de Resurreccion. Only in English and German is it called something that does not derive from Pesach [Easter in English; Ostern in German]. So why do we use the term Easter in English? We don’t know; the word first appears in Old High German as esostarum, but there is no agreement as to the origin of that word.

The first written record of tying Jesus’ resurrection to the Passover occurs in St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, where he says “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed for us”. In Hebrew history the first Passover occurred when they were still slaves in Egypt. God told the Hebrews that each Hebrew family should sacrifice a lamb and smear the blood on the doorposts of their homes. That evening He would slay all the firstborn in Egypt, but would “pass over” every home where the blood of the sacrificed lamb was smeared. After this, the yearly observance of the Passover signified the first month of the year and new life for the Hebrews. For us Christians, Easter, our own Passover, represents the beginning of new life in Christ.

Certainly there is no more joyous time in the Christian year than Easter. After the solemn 40 days of Lent, culminating in the passion of Good Friday, comes the Easter service. Whether the Great Vigil of Easter, practiced in some denominations, or an Easter Sunrise service, practiced in other denominations, or some other variations, at this Easter service we may proclaim with Christians everywhere “Christ is Risen; the Lord is Risen indeed!”

 

 
 
 

 
     
     
       
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