Thoughts on Easter from a pas­tor and a priest

The Catoosa County News - - COMMENTARY - By Ta­mara Wolk

Ac­cord­ing to time­and­date.com, “The date of Easter Day is usu­ally the first Sun­day af­ter the first Full Moon oc­cur­ring on or af­ter the March equinox.”

But which Sun­day that is de­pends on the cal­en­dar you’re us­ing: Gre­go­rian or Ju­lian. Easter in the Western tradition (think North and South Amer­ica, Europe) goes by the Gre­go­rian cal­en­dar, while Eastern Ortho­dox Chris­tians (think Greece, Rus­sia) use the Ju­lian cal­en­dar to reckon the date.

This year, though, the tim­ing co­in­cides, and Easter is on April 16 for both tra­di­tions.

The de­bate over a con­sis­tent, uni­fied date is still go­ing strong, but one thing ev­ery per­son of faith who com­mem­o­rates Easter agrees on is this: The day cel­e­brates the res­ur­rec­tion of Je­sus from the dead three days af­ter his cru­ci­fix­ion at Gol­go­tha, just out­side Jerusalem.

The theme for Easter at First Bap­tist Church of Fort Oglethorpe this year is “As he lives, I live.”

“Easter is not a day,” says First Bap­tist pas­tor, Jason Thomas. “Easter is a life­style. The same power that raised Je­sus from the tomb lives in us.”

“Easter is the first cel­e­bra­tion the church par­tic­i­pated in af­ter the death of the Lord,” says Fa­ther Bill Wil­liams of Saint Ger­ard Catholic Church in Fort Oglethorpe. “The power of Christ’s sav­ing grace for all his peo­ple lives in the res­ur­rec­tion.”

“In I Corinthi­ans 15:14,” says Thomas, “the apos­tle Paul writes, ‘If Christ has not been raised, our preach­ing is use­less and so is your faith.’ I be­lieve that with any­thing in life, it’s im­por­tant to build on a solid foun­da­tion. For Chris­tians, that foun­da­tion is Christ him­self. The res­ur­rec­tion – the liv­ing Christ – is the essence and foun­da­tion of our faith.”

Within the Catholic Church, says Wil­liams, Easter Day is the be­gin­ning of a spe­cial Easter sea­son that cul­mi­nates with a cel­e­bra­tion of Pen­te­cost, the day the Holy Spirit de­scended upon the apos­tles and fol­low­ers of Je­sus. “Je­sus promised his fol­low­ers peace over and over. That peace can be found in the tri­umph of Christ over sin and death in the res­ur­rec­tion.”

Both First Bap­tist Church (fbcfo.org) and Saint Ger­ard Catholic Church (saint­ger­ard­ma­jella. net) will be hold­ing spe­cial ser­vices for Easter.

Jason Thomas is lead pas­tor of First Bap­tist Church of Fort Oglethorpe. (Ca­toosa News photo/Ta­mara Wolk)

Fa­ther Bill Wil­liams is pas­tor of Saint Ger­ard Catholic Church in Fort Oglethorpe. (Ca­toosa News photo/Ta­mara Wolk)

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