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April 2012 - Sunsets Into Dawns

April starts with Holy Week, remembering Jesus’s last week on earth (See Diary). On Palm Sunday (1st) we think of his riding into Jerusalem on a donkey as the Humble King. After three days comes Maundy Thursday and the Last Supper, that amazing event. ‘Maundy’ means ‘command’; Jesus commanded his disciples to imitate him in washing each other’s feet in lowly service. This Maundy Thursday the Queen will be in York Minster for the traditional Maundy Service; she will distribute pouches of Maundy Money, a symbol of her service as Monarch.

Then comes Good Friday, when the Church commemorates Jesus’s death on the cross. Christians see this, not as defeat, but as the victory of God’s saving love. ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.’ We believe that Jesus died to save us from sin and eternal death, reconciling humanity to God. Holy Saturday follows Good Friday and we think of Jesus’s body in the tomb.

Then comes Easter Day, when we celebrate Jesus’s Rising Again. Jesus’s friends and his enemies thought his death was the end. But he rose again, so that a ‘dead end’ was turned into a complete new beginning for him - and all creation. Jesus offers New Life to everyone who believes in him. As one famous Christian put it, ‘Christ has turned all our sunsets into dawns.’

Easter is the most important season of the whole Christian Year, lasting 50 days. If Jesus had not risen, there would be no Church, Bible, or Christian history - and you would not be reading this!

Christianity depends on Easter; it makes no sense without it. It is the Queen of Seasons. As another great teacher said,
‘We are an Easter people and ‘Alleluia!’ is our song!’

May God give you all a truly joyful Easter.

Andrew Clements, Vicar

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