Gabriel's Horn, Pastor George Weaver, April, 2016

posted Mar 29, 2016, 10:07 AM by Lois Kerchner   [ updated Mar 29, 2016, 10:07 AM ]

From Easter Day to Pentecost


The Season of Easter is probably even less acknowledged, especially in the secular world, than the Season of Christmas (The 12 Days of Christmas from Christmas Day to Epiphany). Easter is actually a 50 day Christian celebration that runs from Easter Day to Pentecost. In biblical times, Jews from all over the Roman Empire gathered in Jerusalem for the festivities of Pentecost that took place on the fiftieth day after the Passover.

 On the Pentecost following Jesus’ resurrection—ten days after Jesus had ascended to heaven—the apostles and other believers were gathered together in one place. They were suddenly empowered by the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel. They went out among the crowds and attracted attention by speaking in the native languages of all the people present. This created quite a stir. Peter, capitalizing on this opportunity to address the crowd, preached on the death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ, and won several thousand converts.

 These events are recorded in Acts 2:1-41. Accordingly, Pentecost is celebrated by Christians as the birthday of the Church by the power of the Holy Spirit. Since the Jewish Pentecost is the fiftieth day of Passover, the Christian Pentecost likewise is the fiftieth day of Easter.

 Pentecost does not actually celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit for the Holy Spirit is manifested at various times throughout the Old Testament, appearing first in Genesis 1:2. Rather, Pentecost is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on human flesh to give birth to the Church.

 Easter recognizes and celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. In the ancient Christian Church, the celebration of the Resurrection was called Passover. Today, Orthodox Christians call this holiday the Pasch (as in paschal lamb ), which is the Greek word for Passover. In Anglican churches, the designation Sunday of the Resurrection is often preferred over Easter and in Lutheran liturgy, it is called The Resurrection of Our Lord.

 The current ecumenical trend in English-speaking countries is to use Easter for the fifty-day season following Easter Sunday and Easter Day for the day of the Resurrection. Aside from English and German, the words for Passover and Easter are the same in most languages.

 In any case Easter, rather than being just a single day beginning and ending the Sunday on which we celebrate Christ's victory over death and the grave, is a 50 day season running from Easter Sunday to Pentecost, which always falls on a Sunday, and this year happens on May 15. Remember too that the fortieth day of Easter, thus always a Thursday (May 5th 2016 ) is known as Ascension Day.

 Most of the world returns to a regular daily routine following Easter Day with little if any further thought to the meaning of the season. Christians have a 50 day season to savor the resurrection just as Lent prepared us in advance of the Day of Resurrection.


George Weaver, Pastor of Maturing Ministries