By the time you read this the daffodils which line Church Drive should be in full flower - heralds of Easter, now less than four weeks away. In the early Church, Easter was the principal occasion for baptism. Throughout Lent adult candidates would receive instruction in the faith in preparation for the great event, which would begin after nightfall on Easter Eve. A vigil of prayer, readings and exhortations would lead to baptism and the laying on of hands, and would culminate shortly after daybreak in their receiving their first Communion at the first Eucharist of Easter Day.
Easter always has been, and always will be, most important festival in the Christian year – a time when all communicant members of the Church will want to receive the sacrament. That includes those who are prevented by sickness or disability from attending a service in church, so please let me or Redz know if you would like communion to be brought to you at home. I would also like to hear from anyone who like to consider being confirmed, for there is no better time than Holy Week and Easter to encounter and enter into the amazing mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection which lies at the heart of the our faith.
For all of us Holy Week and Easter provides a literally heaven-sent opportunity for refreshment and renewal. On Palm Sunday we don’t just remember our Lord’s entry into Jerusalem. We also acknowledge his entry into our lives here in Wentworth. On Maundy Thursday he is our host at the Supper, after which he bids us watch with him in Gethsemane as he agonises over what is to befall him. On Good Friday we gather at the foot of his cross and wonder at the extent of his love for us.
Then, after nightfall on Easter Eve, we can meet, as those early baptism candidates did, for a vigil which includes the lighting of the new fire and paschal candle, the Easter proclamation, readings from the Old Testament and the renewal our baptismal promises, after which we can go home to bed, prepared to greet our risen and triumphant Lord in our Easter communion. And whether or not you are able to be physically present may all the blessings of Easter be yours!