The month of April will be defined in the church community by Eastertide – a season associated with delight, optimism and relief at the end of a long period of winter and abstinence. We are probably more affected by the wintry weather than the Lenten abstinence but it is good to be moving towards celebration and sunshine this week.
In the Celtic tradition people used to gather on hilltops and dance for joy around a fire on Easter Dawn, we will have the fire without the dancing or the hill!
Another tradition is the renewal of baptismal vows, for centuries baptism took place on Easter Sunday with adult full immersion, the newly baptised then proceeded naked from the baptistry to the church to be clothed in new white robes – you will be relieved to know that this tradition no longer stands but we will be renewing our baptismal vows at Easter with candles and the sprinkling of water.
All of these customs and many more point to the Christian belief that we should grasp this opportunity for change whole heartedly and with vigour; as new life emerges from the earth so too new life can rise in us and this is a cause for celebration. I sincerely hope that you will find time this April to rejoice in God’s greatness and in the glory of the risen life which opens the gate to constant forgiveness and renewal of right relationship with God, with each other and with the earth.