Eastertide is a period of fifty days and a week of Sunday
If you happen to
be visiting a Christian Church on any of the seven Sundays after what you thought
was Easter and still find that Bible readings, hymns, anthems, prayers and perhaps
even the sermons still make reference to Easter, this does not signify that worship
leaders are reluctant to let their greatest holiday disappear from view.
Easter is a season rather than just a day
It is actually a
seven-week season called Eastertide. It is a period of fifty days beginning at
sundown on the eve of Easter Sunday and lasting for six more Sundays until Pentecost.
Thus Easter includes fifty days and a week of Sundays.
Like all of
the major holidays of the Christian year, the season of Easter is framed around
a sequence of events in the life of Jesus. In this case, it commemorates the time
that Jesus spent with his disciples following the resurrection, prior to his ascension.
Tradition holds that Jesus "ascended" to God on the 40th
day after the resurrection. On the church calendar this day, always a Thursday,
is referred to as Ascension Day. In practice, the Ascension is sometimes "transferred"
to the sixth Sunday of Easter.
The season officially ends on Pentecost
Sunday, which Christians think of as the "birthday of the church." This
holiday celebrates the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church and
indeed, the world.
If you want to talk with someone in person, please feel free to call 212-864-5436
The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and
Executive Director of CrossCurrents.
He is the author of God and Science (John Knox Press, 1986).
A revised and expanded version of the book is appearing here. God and Science (Hypertext Edition,
He is also editor of a new book, featuring articles by world class scientists and theologians, and illustrating the leading views on the relationship between science and religion: Faith, Science and the Future (CrossCurrents Press, 2007).
Charles also tracks the boundry between the virtual and the real at his blog: Next World Design, focusing on the mediation of art, science and spirituality in the metaverse.