5. The Celebration of Easter

                                Discipleship –A  PERSONAL EASTER VIGIL.

 Easter is the oldest Christian holiday and the most important day of the church
year. It is the holiday that celebrates and commemorates the central event of the
Christian faith: the resurrection of Jesus Christ three days after his death by
crucifixion. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the integral credo of  Christianity. 
According to the Apostle Paul, if Jesus Christ had not been resurrected then the
Christian faith is worthless and futile (1 Cor. 15:14-17). Therefore, without Easter
there is no Christianity.

 All the Christian movable feasts and the entire liturgical year of worship are
arranged around Easter. Easter is preceded by the season of Lent, a 40-day period
of fasting and repentance culminating in Holy Week. It's a complicated but precise
formula that determines the day Easter Sunday is celebrated: It is the first Sunday
after the first full moon in spring (after March 21st) which can occur as early
March 22 and as late as April 25.The spring equinox is fixed for this purpose as
March 21 and the "full moon" is actually the paschal moon, which is based on 84-
year "paschal cycles" established in the sixth century.

 Easter Vigil, also called the Paschal Vigil or the Great Vigil of Easter, is a service
held in traditional Christian churches as the first official celebration of the
Resurrection of Jesus. Historically, it is during this service that people are baptized
and that adult catechumens are received into full communion with the Church.
Held in the hours of darkness between sunset on Holy Saturday and sunrise on
Easter Day — most commonly in the evening of Holy Saturday or midnight — and
is the first celebration of Easter. 

Although the Easter Vigil is not universal in the Anglican Communion, its use has
become far more common in recent decades.. The Easter Vigil marked by the first
use since the beginning of Lent of the exclamatory "Alleluia", a distinctive feature
of the Easter season. In the earliest Jerusalem usage the vigil began with Psalm 117
[118] sung with the response, "This is the day which the Lord has made."

As we approach Easter , let us take  a spiritual pilgrimage in our own home  on
Saturday evening April 4th  by reading some of the lessons (B.A.S)associated with
the Easter Vigil. Three from the Old Testament Genesis 1.1-2.2, Genesis 22,1-18,
Exodus 14,10-15 (mandatory), Isaiah 54, 5-14 and  two from the new testament
Romans 6.3-11 and Matthew 28.1-10 or Mark 16.1-8, or Luke 23.55 24-9, followed
by your own  silent reflections or meditation as we prepare for Easter Service
presided by Reverend Lee.

On Easter Sunday at 8:30 am and 10:30 am, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus
Christ, our Saviour and Lord.  Jesus, whom his friends, his family and all of
Jerusalem, thought dead; was raised to life on this day some 2000 years ago.
We are a people who are called to believe in the power and the love that the
resurrection shows.  We are called to believe in the power and love of the Creator
to bring goodness out of evil; life out of death; and hope out of despair.  As
Christians we are promised that when we trust and believe in this way, that when
we believe in the power and the love of the Creator, a power and love that can raise
the dead to life,that our lives will be blest and that we will be a blessing to others.

This is what the resurrection is about, what our faith is about.  God can bring back
to life that which has died.  God can bring good out of evil, love out of hate and
hope out of despair.  This is what we believe and what we believe makes a difference.

Historical references Wikiipedia.