Guess which nation celebrates its independence on a different date each year?
At Easter 2016 Ireland will celebrate the Centenary of the Easter Rising. The Rising was not just a historical event that happened to coincidentally occur on Easter Monday. If that was the case, then it would be celebrated each year on the set day of the calendar when the Rising occurred (24th April). But that isn’t what happens. Whatever date Easter happens to fall upon (Easter being a moveable feast) determines the date each year that Ireland celebrates its independence.
The reason, of course, is that the rebels staged their Rising quite deliberately at Easter so that it would have a religious significance.
But Ireland has also been profoundly shaped and influenced by other Easters. St Patrick, for example, confronted the dark forces of paganism one Easter in the 5th Century. And, more recently, the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 profoundly changed our ideas about what it means to be Irish – renouncing the territorial claim on Northern Ireland and opening the way up for the ‘New Irish.’
As part of the 1916 Easter Rising Centenary celebrations, Evangelical Alliance Ireland is publishing a paperback book – “Ireland: A People Shaped by Easter” – written by Nick Park (EAI), Ruth Garvey-Williams (Vox Magazine) and David Wilson (Agape Ministries). The book explores these pivotal Irish Easters, and then goes on to set them in their true context – the first Easter when Jesus rose from the dead. It shares the personal stories of Irish people who are finding the first Easter helps them incorporate these other Easters into their sense of national identity.
We are looking for evangelical churches and organisations to support the distribution of this book during Easter 2016. If you would like to be involved, please contact Nick Park at firstname.lastname@example.org