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April 2018

As I write, we are just emerging from three bitterly cold days.  Deep snow and ice have brought our communities to a standstill and we have all had that strange experience of patterns and routines being forced to change, for good and ill.  As ever, the cold weather has seen our communities at their very best as everyone tried to help one another.  As the snow melts it seems hard to believe that Easter is just around the corner – it doesn’t seem a moment since we were celebrating Christmas.

A very good way to link both festivals is to think about the Christmas tree.  Our Christmas trees, with their lights and decorations, are wonderful, joyful celebrations of the love of God coming into the world through the birth of Jesus.   After the festivities are over, many churches now carefully cut off the branches from the trunk of their Christmas tree.  The trunk is stored away and then used to make a cross.  The cross is brought into church in Holy Week, the solemn week of prayer and reflection that leads up to Easter Day, a stark reminder of the suffering and death of Jesus.  Rather than a polished and beautifully carved cross, the ‘Christmas tree’ cross is misshapen and rough, and somehow more redolent of the sadness and harshness that we remember as we tell the story of Jesus’ arrest, trial and death.

Finally, on Easter Day, the ‘Christmas tree’ cross is decorated once more.  This time with white linen and spring flowers, symbols of the new life and hope that comes with Jesus’ resurrection.  Many people don’t realise that the Easter season last for 50 days.  As the days lengthen and new life flourishes all around us, do come and hear the Easter stories and join in the many services that will take place right across our Mission Community throughout those 50 days.  You will be very welcome.

Hilary

 

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