Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Preparing for Easter

I would feel badly cheated if I woke up one Christmas morning to find I’d slept an entire month. I’d have neither a Christmas tree nor fairy lights on the walls. I’d have bought no presents nor sent any cards. The freezer would contain no special food. I’d have missed the magic of Christingles and the pomp of a good carol service. It’s no secret: the key to a good, satisfying Christmas is good preparation.
       It’s interesting that we all prepare for Christmas but so many folk — including some Christians — do not prepare properly for Easter, which is a far greater celebration in the Church calendar.
     Appropriate preparation for Easter takes many forms, but there are two aspects in particular that seem essential. First, we prepare throughout the forty days preceding Easter with special spiritual exer cises. These can take many forms, but should include taking some thing up such as extra prayer and giving something up, so self-denial of some kind.
     The second and far-more important part of this preparation involves Holy Week itself, which this year starts with Palm Sunday, 9 April. A wise and careful Christian will seek to live Holy Week. In practice, that means accompanying Jesus at every stage of the week. A sincere Christian will therefore experience many emotional high-points such as Palm Sunday. They will live the spiritual immensity of Maundy Thursday when Jesus pronounced his New Commandment, so big we commemorate it today with a new kind of meal that history now calls the ‘Last Supper’. We will taste the biting shame of Judas’ betrayal which led to Jesus’ murder the very next day, the first Good Friday. In fact, at this stage of living Holy Week, that Friday will not feel ’Good’ in any sense at all because it precedes the Resurrection.
     An Easter Day following this week will feel magnificently richer and deeper than any Easter we have ever experienced before. Indeed, spiritual preparation of this depth will propel your Easter from a special day in the year to become a life-changing event.

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