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From the Rectory
April 2006

The past few weeks have been exceptionally cold, and the flowers of spring have been held back, plants checked by the cold. The ground has been frozen and little has been happening in the garden, at least that can be seen. We have stayed indoors, hugging the warmth of fires and radiators, we have become more solitary as a result, seeing fewer people and friends, who like us have thought twice before venturing out. The winter has taken its toll. My childhood memories are of weather that was always like this. Recently we have become accustomed to shorter, warmer winters. We've had a reminder of what it should be like. You cannot have spring unless you first have winter. It seems to me that all of this has helped to heighten the season of LENT. Even the weather has conspired to strip down our lives to the bare essentials of movement, keeping us indoors. When the sun does eventually provide some warmth and God's creation bursts forth in all its colour we will all be glad I'm sure. When the privations (have you really stuck to what you decided to give up for Lent?) are over, Easter will be a feast indeed.

The Services planned for Holy Week and Easter are designed to lead us from the momentous events of Palm Sunday through the days that followed. We will follow Scripture accounts day by day through Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and then on Maundy Thursday re-enact, through the Eucharist, The Last Supper. Afterwards you are invited to stay for a meditation based on the events in the Garden of Gethsemene and then to hold a vigil until IO.OOpm.

On Good Friday as well as the Churches Together Act of Witness in Shirley Precinct we will be holding a service in Church from 1.00pm - 3.00pm when we think about the Crucifixion of Jesus and the horror and cost of his death. Only one service will be held on Holy Saturday - Morning Prayer, after which the Church will be silent, in mourning, until we all renew our Baptismal Vows and shout Alleluia! as we celebrate Christ's rising from the dead on Easter Morning.

The long dark days of Lent will be over, flowers will be back in Church and colour back in our lives. You might decide to continue your Lenten deprivations permanently. But consider also taking more time to pray, to read your Bibles and to question and challenge your faith.

Christ died that we might live, and live life in all its abundance. Celebrating Easter cannot have any meaning unless we also experience Good Friday. I do urge you to come to the services in Holy week and not jump from Palm Sunday to Easter Day, missing the amazing and life changing things that happen in between. Then when you cry, 'Christ is risen, he is risen indeed, Alleluia!' It will have real meaning for you. Have a happy, holy and God filled Easter. May the Light of Christ shine in your hearts and the sun warm your cheeks.

God Bless,