Dear friends,

The last time I wrote the opening message to the magazine was for the Christmas edition. I remember talking about believing in God and asking why some celebrate Christmas if they really don’t believe. Well, as I write we are almost midway through Lent and fast approaching another of those festivals beloved by all but not for the same reasons.

For Christians the solemnity of Lent leads to the harrowing events of Passion Week and   Jesus’ subsequent death BUT also to that great joy we experience when we remember and celebrate that he rose from the dead for us, so that our sins might be washed away. Sadly there are many who will say that they don’t believe these events, that no-one can come back from the dead. Well alright then – but if that is what you truly believe why     celebrate Easter? Is it for the chocolate   because the sweet industry makes a great deal of chocolate eggs and bunnies – there were little eggs in the stores straight after Christmas and a local supermarket was selling hot cross buns before Christmas had ended! Equally the travel industry seems to suggest that this is a time when we can go off on a holiday. Nothing wrong with either of those things at all but if you don’t believe in Easter and its events why use it as an excuse to             celebrate?

The word ‘holiday’ may be seen as misleading. Holiday is a mispronunciation of the word Holy Day. Many, many years ago, the ordinary people like me and you, didn’t have holidays unless it was a Holy Day of Obligation, when you were expected to attend church and receive communion. In order to be sure that ALL the people would be able to do this they were granted a day off from their labours, although, as we know, in some jobs there is never a day off, eg. farmers have to see that livestock are milked and fed every day and no doubt had to get up even earlier on a Holy Day in order to do this and go to church. I noticed that a modern definition of ‘holiday’ is – a day when we are free to do as we like!

But for those of us who do believe in the significance of Easter it is a day when we may experience great joy and quite right too! God gave his only Son to be crucified and rise from the dead so that we might have eternal life. The Greatest gift of all and we should be so grateful for what we have been given. I know I am!

A Happy and Blessed Easter to all of you.

Norma Rowles     Licenced Reader