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Letter from the Curate – March 2016

In the very early Church, Easter was regarded as the principal occasion for baptism. It was the great high feast, on which day the bishop would baptise all those wishing to become Christians in his city (dioceses being somewhat smaller back then), and for the reconciliation of those who had been excluded from the church for any serious faults. Thus the period of Lent, immediately preceding Easter, was characteristically described as one of self-examination, penitence, self-denial, study and preparation. At some point over the past hundred years or so, however, Lent has become solely about trying to give things up. As such, we have seen Lent decline from a season of spiritual strengthening and preparation to a kind of second-chance at New Year’s resolutions. To consider Lent simply as a time that we try to give up our favourite vices (be it chocolate, cigarettes or drink) is to sell the season short. Lent is so much more than this, and there are so many more creative things to mark the deeply spiritual nature of the season – it’s never too late to start thinking about what you can do to prepare spiritually for Easter.

As Holy Week approaches, and the atmosphere of the season darkens, our readings in church begin to anticipate the story of Christ’s suffering and death and we prepare for our annual pilgrimage around the parishes it can sometimes seem too late to begin anything, but it is never too late, and there is plenty happening over the week. However you choose to spend your Lent, I hope that you gain from it, and I wish you all a happy Easter when it comes.

Richard

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