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Easter anti-climax?

08 May 2015


Your questions

How should Easter Week be kept so that it isn't an anti-climax?

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, Oxfordshire 

Your questions

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 received?

Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG. 


Mon 15 Aug @ 06:49
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