Church Seasons / Easter

easter

The Easter Season, also known as the Great Fifty Days, begins at sunset Easter Eve and continues through the Day of Pentecost. It is the most joyous and celebrative season of the Christian year. It focuses on Christ’s resurrection and ascension and on the givings of Holy Spirit on the first Easter (John 20:22-23) and the day of Pentecost (Acts 2). Lessons from the Acts of the Apostles replace readings from the Old Testament because the early church, empowered by the Holy Spirit, is the best witness to the Resurrection. The ancient Christian name for this festival is Pasch, derived from the Hebrew pesah (“deliverance” or “Passover”), thus connecting the Resurrection to the Exodus. The origin of the English word Easter is disputed but may come from the Anglo-Saxon spring goddess Eastre and her festival. Pentecost comes from the Greek pentekoste, which means “fiftieth.” It refers to the Jewish Feast of Weeks, which Greek-speaking jews called the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1). Early Christians also used the term Pentecost to refer to the Great Fifty Days as a season.

Baptisms, confirmations, and congregational reaffirmation of the Baptismal Covenant are highly appropriate throughout this season, most especially at the First Service of Easter and the Day of Pentecost.

Use the colors of white and gold and material of the finest texture for paraments, stoles, and banners. On the Day of Pentecost use bright red. Bright red symbols may also be used on a white background earlier in the season. A focus on the baptismal font is appropriate throughout the season. A large freestanding white candle called a paschal candle may be used at every service during this season and at baptisms and funerals during the rest of the year. Standing for prayer is most traditional. Flowers of all colors are appropriate. Visuals for the Day of Pentecost may include red flowers, doves, flames of fire, a ship, or a rainbow.

(used by permission from The United Methodist Book of Worship, 1992) For more information and resources go to the UM website and search for Advent: UMC.org.