I was sharing with a friend the other day about Lent and the Easter Services, and what a lot of input there is gathering together the different readings and services to cover such a busy month.
Of course, Lent began on the 10th February, when we held our evening Ashing Service with Holy Communion. In previous weeks, we brought last year’s palm crosses to church, ready for burning and then mixing with a little sacred oil, before being marked on the foreheads of the communicants by the Priest. A very special, spiritual time, and a significant start to Lent.
We then move on the 6th March, Lent 4 and Mothering Sunday with its own special gifts. Then on the 20th March we have Palm Sunday when we lead up from the Church Centre carrying our palm branches to the church and proceed with the Liturgy of the Palms (this can be alternated by the Liturgy of the Passion) with special dramatised readings. A more relaxed, happy occasion before the solemnity of Maundy Thursday when we witness the Stripping of the Altars during the Holy Communion Service at 7:00pm in the evening. This is when all the fittings, candles, and adornments are removed from the church to mark the absence of Jesus and the Light of the World. There is a great deal of meaning at this service, and definitely one to attend. Since organising the monthly duty rotas, I have become very interested and intrigued with all the Seasons and their meanings and traditions. Good Friday has its solemn quiet time and then on Easter Day we begin at the crack of dawn, 6.:5am to be precise, (with the clock going forward one hour) with our Dawn Eucharist and the lighting of the fire in the churchyard before going into the church for the first Communion of the Day. After this we share in breakfast in St Mark’s Room. At 9:30am for those not so early risers, we have our Family Communion and share in this joyous time together.
In future articles, I will explain the Liturgical Seasons and the Colours worn, but for now just to say that the Priests will be wearing Purple until Palm Sunday when Red will be worn.
I hope you find this explains something of our church’s year, as I knew nothing when I first started attending church many years ago, nor did my friend when he first attended services. To understand the reasons for this, will, I hope give us greater understanding and draw us closer to God.