I am writing this blog on the afternoon of Palm Sunday. Holy Week has just begun and, like the millions who follow Christ around the world, I am preparing to enter into the most holiest days of the Christian year – journeying with Jesus on the way to the Cross and then entering into the glory and wonder of his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Holy Week and Easter Sunday are preceded by the long season that is Lent; and because there is such an emphasis these forty days of reflection and preparation, and because Holy Week itself can often be, spiritually, an emotional and demanding journey, that when we get to Easter Day itself, it can be very easy to celebrate Jesus’ rising from the dead on the Sunday but then, once we have eaten all our chocolate eggs, to pretty quickly get back to normal life again and almost forget about what we have marked and participated in.

And yet, Easter is not simply one day in the Christian calendar but is, rather, a season of fifty days – it is, indeed, the longest season in the Church’s year. And in the Easter season, we are, as Christians, called to celebrate the risen life into which Christ has entered and into which all of us are invited to participate. Easter is a season in which we are invited to live into the reality of our own risen life; and that is why perhaps it is the longest season of the year, because we need the time and the space to grasp what exactly it means for us to say that we are raised with Christ.

Just as the early disciples could not at first comprehend the reality of Christ’s resurrection, but needed to meet with the risen Jesus at different times and in a number of different ways; so we too require space and time to grasp what it might mean  to be called an Easter people and what it can mean to live a risen life.

And because we need the time and space to start to unpack and to understand the meaning of Easter, I am delighted that this year the Church of England is producing some resources to help us pray and reflect on what it means to follow the resurrected Christ. The resources are a follow-on from the Lent Pilgrim reflections which some of us have been following this Lent and are intended to be used from Easter Day until Ascension Day. They are a series of daily readings and prayers entitled Easter Pilgrim. They focus upon the Lord’s Prayer and are written by Steven Croft. Then, from Ascension Day to Pentecost, there will be more resources published to help individuals join the global prayer movement Thy Kingdom Come. All these are intended to help us all, as followers of Jesus, to deepen our understanding of the Christian vision for human life and to think about how prayer shapes our lives and our discipleship. If you want to find out more, then visit the Church of England’s web-site where you can order digital or hard copies of both Lent Pilgrim and Easter Pilgrim and will also be able to find more information about Thy Kingdom Come. The address is: https://www.churchofengland.org/lent

May I wish you a holy and blessed Easter and may you know the joy and wonder of the Risen Christ not just on Easter Sunday but throughout this Resurrection Season and beyond.

Revd. Helen Duckett.

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