April 2018 Letter

 The “Moveable” Date of Easter


            Many people have asked me why Easter was so early this year (Sunday, April 1st) and how the Church determines when The Resurrection of Our Lord should be celebrated?  In Western Christianity, Easter is always celebrated on the Sunday immediately following the Paschal Full Moon date of the year.  The ancient Jews used a lunar calendar month to determine the Feast of the Passover.  This was first directed by God in Exodus 12:5-6, “5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, 6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.”


Western Christianity has since adopted the following formula:

  • Easter Day is always the Sunday after the full moon that occurs on or after the spring equinox on March 21st.  [In 2018, the full moon after the spring equinox is on Saturday, March 31st, and Easter is on Sunday, April 1st.] 
  • This full moon may happen on any date between March 21st & April 18th inclusive.
  • If the full moon falls on a Sunday, Easter Day is the Sunday following.
  • Easter Day cannot be earlier than March 22nd or later than April 25th.
  • Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, falls in the seventh week before Easter.
  • The Ascension of Our Lord occurs on a Thursday, forty days after Easter Day.
  • The Day of Pentecost is seven weeks, or the fiftieth day, after Easter Day.


Even though the date of Easter changes each year, one thing always remains constant, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”  (Hebrews 13:8).  His resurrection from the grave defeated the powers of Satan, the world, and our sinful flesh once-and-for-all.  And we now live in the hope and promise of eternal life with Him in heaven after our mortal lives end on earth.


            He is Risen!  He is Risen, Indeed!  Alleluia!


            Pastor David A. Feddern