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The Season of Easter

 

In the Christian church year, the two major cycles of seasons, Christmas and Easter, are far more than a single day of observance. Like Christmas, Easter itself is a period of time rather than just a day. It is actually a seven-week season of the church year called Eastertide, the Great Fifty Days that begins at sundown the evening before Easter Sunday (the Easter Vigil) and lasts for six more Sundays until Pentecost Sunday (some traditions use the term Pentecost to include these Fifty Days between Easter and Pentecost Sunday). These seven Sundays are called the Sundays of Easter, climaxing on the seventh Sunday, the Sunday before Pentecost Sunday.  This is often celebrated as Ascension Day (actually the 40th day after Easter Sunday, which always falls on Thursday, but in churches that do not have daily services it is usually observed the following Sunday). Ascension Day marks not only the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, but his exaltation from servanthood to Ruler and Lord as the fitting climax of Resurrection Day (Eph 1:20-22).

These special days and seasons are a means to shape sacred time, a structure in which to define what it means to be Christian and to call God’s people to reverent and faithful response to God. Easter encompasses a time of preparation (Lent; Advent for Christmas) as well as a following period of reflection on its significance for the life of God’s people (Pentecost; Epiphany for Christmas). However, while Epiphany following Christmas focuses on the mission of God’s people to the world, the Pentecost season following Easter focuses on the church as the witness to the resurrection. In anticipation of this emphasis at Pentecost, the Scripture readings during the Sundays of Easter are different, with readings from the Acts of the Apostles replacing readings from the Old Testament. This emphasizes that the church, as empowered by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, is the best witness to the resurrection and the work of God in the world in Jesus the Christ.

The Colors of Easter

Color used in worship is especially important during the season of Easter (see Colors of the Church Year and The Meaning of Church Colors).  The changing colors of the sanctuary from the purple of Lent to the black of Good Friday provide graphic visual symbols for the Lenten journey.  The change of colors for Easter and the following Sundays helps communicate the movement of sacred time as well as personal faith journeys.

The Sanctuary colors for Easter Sunday and Ascension Day are white and gold, the colors of sacred days throughout the church year. For the Easter season, white symbolizes the hope of the resurrection, as well as the purity and newness that comes from victory over sin and death.  The gold (or yellow) symbolizes the light of the world brought by the risen Christ that enlightens the world, as well as the exaltation of Jesus as Lord and King.  The sanctuary color for the other five Sundays of Easter is usually also white and gold, although some churches use Red, the color of the Church, for these Sundays as well as for Pentecost Sunday.  During this time worshippers are called to celebrate God's ongoing work in the world through his people, and to acknowledge and reflect upon the their purpose, mission, and calling as God’s people, which makes Red an appropriate color for this season.

 

Other Information about The Church:

A Bishop is called by God and the Church to be a shepherd who feeds the flock entrusted to his care. A Bishop is an overseer of the flock and as such is called to propagate, to teach, and to uphold and defend the Faith and Order of the Church, willingly and as God directs. He must not be greedy for money but be eager to serve, not lording the authority of his office or position over those entrusted to his care. He must be a humble, wholesome example to the entire flock of Christ. By the tradition of Christ's One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, Bishops are consecrated for the whole Church and are successors of the Apostles through the grace of the Holy Spirit given to them. They are chief missionaries and chief pastors, guardians and teachers of doctrine, and administrators of godly discipline and governance.


catholic defined: universal in extent; involving all; of interest to all; pertaining to the whole Christian body or church


episcopal defined: based on or recognizing a governing order of bishops; designating the Anglican Church or some branch of it

 

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