Read the Moderator's Easter message

Easter Break

The Easter Break in New Zealand is somewhat unique in the Western world. We get both Good Friday and Easter Monday and have done for a long time. Australia doesn’t make Easter Monday a break, and South Africa calls it “Family Day”, so they effectively get it as well.

In this we follow Britain, which does call both Easter Friday and Easter Monday a holiday, but neither Canada nor the United States take both days off. In Canada, the entire country – except Quebec – take Easter Friday. Only Quebec takes Easter Monday – go figure? In the United States neither day is a holiday. Frankly, I think we’ve got it right.

Easter is early this year coming on 1 April. In Western Christianity, using the Gregorian calendar, Easter always falls on a Sunday between 22 March and 25 April inclusive, within about seven days after the astronomical full moon – according to Wikipedia. Usually we’re about half way through the school term and families need a break, to say nothing of teachers and everyone else!

My memories of Easter holidays spent at my grandparents’ small crib in Alexandra are still bright with joy and adventure. Swimming was still possible and as long as the weekend wasn’t too drab, much of our time was spent outdoors with cousins and others. It was a great weekend. Yes, we experienced the odd really bad weekend, but even cooped up in a small but different space where books could be read and card or board games played, it was a special time.

Of course, it is the true high point of the Christian calendar and much is made of it in churches, but typically, here in Aotearoa many of us are away on Easter Sunday. Whereas in the States it becomes a time of immense activity in church as congregations gear up for an influx of annual Easter visitors. In New Zealand, we simply don’t get that response and are used to many of our volunteers being away.

Again, I think this is healthy largely because this western culture we’re in simply doesn’t stop and, frankly, it’s killing us. I would much rather have a large group within my congregation return from a good Easter rest ready to serve well for the rest of the semester/term. This is much better than having a group of stressed and over-worked volunteers drag themselves back to church after a busy Easter with very little in their gas tanks to take us any further.

For goodness sake – don’t feel guilty about taking a break this Easter. The Sabbath, said Jesus, was made for humans, not the other way around. Easter is our greatest Sabbath but it too, was made for us, not we for it!

God bless you all this Easter.

Richard Dawson
Moderator Presbyterian Church Aotearoa New Zealand

 

 

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