How should Easter Week be kept so that it isn't an
One reason for this anti-climax is that the Church has lost the
biblical connection between Easter and Pentecost. In Acts 1.4,
Jesus, the risen Messiah, instructs his disciples: "Do not leave
Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have
heard me speak about. For John baptised with water, but in a few
days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit."
In other words, the Easter drama, wonderful as it is, without
Pentecost is incomplete. Easter and Pentecost are the beginning and
climax of one festival. We need to learn the connection from our
Jewish brethren, where Passover and Pentecost are clearly connected
by the "Counting of the Omer", the waiting days between the first
barley and the main wheat harvests.
We need something of this eagerness and expectation in our faith
today. The resurrection of Jesus is only the first-fruits; the
consummation comes when we, risen with Christ, are filled with the
promised Holy Spirit. In Acts 19.2, Paul asks a group of new
believers: "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" If
there is a sense of anti-climax after Easter in our spiritual
lives, then it is a question worth asking.
In John 14.15-18, Jesus, looking to the future, makes that
Passover (Easter)-Pentecost link, telling us that one of the main
ministries of the Holy Spirit is just this, making the presence of
Jesus a reality in our experience.
In the Church's year, we already have two waiting periods,
Advent and Lent. I would suggest that a third, linking Easter and
Pentecost, is an urgent need in our day. We have relegated the
title Whitsun and taken on the more biblical title Pentecost (fifty
days), but we have not fully realised the significance of the
fifty. Perhaps the next stage would be to drop the non-biblical
title Easter and return to some connection with "Pascha".
So we have this period of active, expectant, prayerful waiting,
which should be set aside for preparation for personal and
corporate renewal, and evangelistic outreach for which the Acts of
the Apostles, should be the foundation document, renamed, as has
often been suggested, "The Acts of the Holy Spirit".
(The Revd) John Fieldsend, Thame,
Do the Jews still await a Messiah? I. W.
Should the minutes of the PCC standing committee be
available to PCC members? And how long before a deanery synod and
PCC should the agenda and minutes from the last meeting be
Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta
House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.