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Easter celebrations at All Saints 

There are so many customs, and questions, associated with the celebration of Easter that it can be hard to make sense of it all. Why does Easter fall on a different Sunday every year? Why chocolate eggs? Why Easter bonnets, Easter fire, Easter bunnies? And why bother?

Being a rather geeky child, my favourite occupation during long sermons in church used to be working out the date of Easter for years to come. In fact the old Prayer Book had a table of dates extending way into the future, but it was more fun to try and calculate the “golden numbers” which the table was based on. And the Prayer Book helpfully had a table for doing that as well. I can’t remember now how it was done, and in any case there’s an easy rule of thumb: Easter falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. In fact it would make everyone’s life easier if we could have a fixed date, but that’s not a debate that will be ended any time soon.

Some of the symbols associated with Easter have obvious connections with the idea of new life (the eggs and the bunnies) or with celebration after the dull days of Lent (the bonnets and of course the chocolate). Easter fire, though, is a tradition that we’ve probably inherited from pre-Christian times. In some countries, especially in northern Europe, fires are lit the night before Easter Day, possibly to celebrate the end of winter darkness, and celebrations continue through-out the night. The church has incorporated fire into its services, often lighting a fire outside from which a special Easter candle is then lit. That candle then burns throughout the 40 days of the Easter season.

This year we shall be having a daybreak service on Easter Sunday, where fire outside the church will represent the light of the risen Lord Jesus. And if our timing and the weather is right, the rising sun will reinforce that power of that light.

Why bother? Years ago my late husband, until then a faithful atheist, was given a book called “Who moved the stone?” The book was written by a lawyer who weighed up all the evidence for and against the resurrection of Jesus and concluded that the impossible did indeed happen. The writer’s argument was enough to change the mind of that atheist, also a lawyer, and our lives were changed for good.

Our Holy Week and Easter services at All Saints:

Maundy Thursday 18 April: 5.00 pm Communion service with washing of feet

Good Friday 19 April: 2.00 pm One hour at the Cross: a time of music, readings and quiet reflection; 5.00 pm German Lutheran service; 6.00 pm Screening of Bach’s St Matthew Passion

Easter Day 21 April: 7.00 am Daybreak Communion service (followed by breakfast); 9.30 am and 11.00 am Holy Communion; 5.00 pm German Lutheran service

Chaplain: The Revd Dr Paula Clifford

Tel: 922 38 40 38; Email: paulaclifford4@gmail.com