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Bishop Sceptical on Fixed Easter

by Gerry Lynch last modified 24 Mar, 2016 04:48 PM

Fixed Easter Date Would ‘Detach Christians From Their Jewish Roots’ - Bishop Nicholas

Bishop Nicholas has warned that fixing the date of Easter would, detach Christians from their Jewish roots and weaken the shared experience of Christians, Jews and Muslims as ‘children of Abraham and people of the book’.                                      

As part of a wide-ranging sermon at the Diocese’s annual Maundy Thursday Chrism Eucharist at Salisbury Cathedral, attended by priests from across the region as well as many laypeople, the Bishop said the death of Jesus was connected with and interpreted by this central story of Judaism. In a world bedevilled by religious violence, he said, it was ‘God’s awkward gift’ that the central acts by which Christians remember Jesus are inextricably linked with one of the most sacred Jewish festivals.

Bishop Nicholas said, “Whether or not the Last Supper was a Passover meal is not certain but there is no doubt the death of Jesus was connected with and interpreted by this central story of Judaism. At Passover God’s people came from slavery in Egypt through the wilderness to freedom in the promised land. The death of Jesus, like the Passover lamb, brings us from slavery, through suffering, to the freedom of resurrection and life eternal. In a world bedevilled by religious violence it is God’s awkward gift that the central acts by which we remember Jesus are inextricably linked with the Jewish Passover.

“If the Primates of the Anglican Communion thought same sex relationships are difficult to know what to do with, just wait until they get going on the implications of fixing the date of Easter. It is the connection with Passover on which the desire to fix the date of Easter turns and falls.  It seems to me a curiously unexamined piece of cultural accommodation that would separate the timing of Easter from Passover and detach us from our Jewish roots.

“In a world in which the dominant secular narrative about religion is of division and violence it ought to be a gift that there are shared stories, experiences and scriptures. Passover is not incidental to the Passion. Easter disconnected from Passover misses the point.

“What’s more, it is a way into the shared experience of Jews, Christians and Muslims, the children of Abraham and people of the Book. Our job is to live with this connectedness, work with it, explore its meaning including the awkward difficulties and differences to make a more Godly story for the sake of a deeply troubled world.”

Read Bishop Nicholas’ full sermon via this link.

Photos from the Chrism Eucharist can be viewed via this link.

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