Dear Friends,
I write this on Holy Saturday - the day before Easter Day. The weekend of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Day is perhaps the most sacred weekends in the Christian Calendar. For, it is the events of those few days that has formed the basis for the Christian faith.
As Saint Paul says, his faith was based on the fact that "Jesus died, Jesus was buried and Jesus rose again".
And it's those events and the faith which grew out of them which has had a huge impact on our world and our lives. For our lives would not be the same, were it not for Jesus Christ and his followers. Remember that the education system for all children in this country was initiated by the Christian Church and that many of the world's charities were "church centred" to begin with.
Perhaps these days are less observed than once they were. Good Friday, for many folk is business as usual. As we sang our hymn in the Market Place on Good Friday, the traffic continued to pass by - but thinking about it, that is how it would have been "first time round".
Of course we buy our Easter Eggs and we enjoy Easter Monday as a Bank Holiday so Easter still has an impact. And recent research has shown that many people still believe in the Resurrection - even if they are not in church to celebrate that great redemptive act by God.
Tesco recently issued an advertisement which seemed to belittle "Good Friday". It was encouraging that there was an outcry which resulted in the company pulling the advert off their websites.
Similarly, Cadbury and the National Trust has got criticised for removing the word "Easter" from its adverts for a "Great Egg Hunt".
In some folks eyes, these complaints might be trivial - but our faith is important to us and we should stand up for what we believe; for Easter is much more than an advertising gimmick for big companies to make money. (Likewise we should do the same if other religious faith is belittled as well).
The Easter events are far too important to let go of.
I hope that, by the time you read this, you have had a holy and blessed Easter and that the joy of the risen Christ has entered your hearts and the hearts and lives of all people.
Ian R