A message from John Garrett, Lay Minister

Posted by Admin on Thursday, 22nd March 2012, 22:54

How time flies!

One hardly has time to recover from the excesses of Christmas, and it is Lent; and then, with the improving weather and the lengthening of the days, it is Easter.
The Early Church was always very good at bending ancient traditions and long-enjoyed pagan festivals to its own purposes, and it did this with the ancient springtime celebrations, perhaps on the basis that there was no reason to waste a good party! The name ‘Easter’ owes its origins to the Germanic goddess of the dawn, who was called ‘Eastre’ or as the Venerable Bede has it ‘Eostre’, whose feast was celebrated at the Spring Equinox, the 24th March, and thus near enough to an average date for the celebration of the ‘Pasch’, the old church name for the Jewish Passover, from the Hebrew ‘Pesach’.

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I bother to write this as I believe it is very important to keep alive these otherwise fading imprints of the past. To a large extent we are defined as people by our history, which is why we are so often fascinated by family history and the stories which come to light when we ask the oldsters in our families to tell us how it was long ago.

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Easter brings to a head the greatest story of them all, the story of God’s dealing with Humanity, the story which starts with the birth of a baby boy to a carpenter and his young wife in a small village in a troublesome corner of the Roman Empire. Thirty-odd years later the baby has, to the neighbours’ astonishment and, probably, disapproval, grown into an itinerant preacher and healer. Even worse, he has got himself into big trouble with the authorities, is subjected to a show trial, badly beaten and then executed on a cross. The final twist to this tale is that it seems he is not dead, and his followers have met and shared meals with him, and say that he and they are alive for ever!

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The last part of this drama is played out during the week leading up to Easter Day, Holy Week, starting with Palm Sunday, then Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and at Last Easter Day; and if we wish to enjoy the full benefit of the telling of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection, we need to enter fully into the story as it is set forth in the liturgy, the services, the readings and prayers, which make up the ‘work’ of the Week.

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A happy and blessed Easter to you all.

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John Garrett

Reader (Lay Minister) St John the Baptist, Northwood

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