Wednesday, April 4, 2012
The Liturgical Linchpin
Advent may be the first season of the Christian year, but Easter is the linchpin which holds it all together. All the other seasons (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Pentecost) are set by Easter and Easter is the one day which is determined by a constant. The constant is seen in the night time sky during these days. Easter is always the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring Equinox. In other words, Easter is determined by something which is a part of the creative order.
Once that date is set, all the other seasons fall in place. Fifty days after Easter comes Pentecost. Four Sundays before Christmas Day, Pentecost ends and Advent begins. Twelve days after Christmas comes Epiphany. And, finally Lent is fixed by backing up from Easter forty days (excluding Saturdays and Sundays). Easter is the liturgical linchpin which holds the Christian year together and it is the one date determined not by what is on the earth, but by what is in the heavens.
But, more importantly, Easter proclaims that resurrection truth which is central to the gospel message. Throw Easter away and there is nothing but foolishness. The Apostle Paul made it clear that the message of the resurrection is the one essential of our Christian faith. It is one of those things which is non-negotiable. It is the linchpin of the Christian calendar and the Christian faith.