Lent is a time to ask ourselves pertinent questions
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has proposed a fixed date for Easter.
Anglican leaders plan to join with other church leaders to fix a date for the first time in 2,000 years. At present the western churches celebrate Easter on a different date than the eastern churches, although in some years the date coincides.
This year, we in the west celebrate the day on March 27, whereas Christians in the east will celebrate on May 1. At present Easter Sunday in the west falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. The leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Britain, Bishop Anba Angaelos said that fixing on a date would be a great demonstration of Christian unity.
Easter is at the centre of the Christian faith. It is about Resurrection. But what exactly is Resurrection? An answer to that is beyond my pay-grade. As Easter Sunday this year falls on March 27 this Wednesday is Ash Wednesday and for the next 40 days we are in the season of Lent.Fadó, Fadó it was a tough period. It was a time of rules, regulations and strict observance. In Cork a genius of a baker managed to make biscuits that were really outside the limit but 'legally' were within the 'law'. They called them 'Connie Dodgers', named after the then Bishop of Cork Cornelius Lucey.
Last year in the parish where I live all the Christian churches came together and organised a 30-minute meditation. It took place Mondays to Fridays from 07.45 to 08.15. It turned out a great success and people found it helpful. So, it's happening again this year.
Every morning the session is introduced by a person, Anglican, Methodist, Catholic, Presbyterian, and it's irrelevant to what faith the person belongs. There are a few minutes of explanation and guidance. The next 25 minutes is spent in Christian meditation, mindfulness and centering prayer. I tried to attend most mornings last year and it certainly was a great way to start the day. No doubt it will be just as enriching this year.
It was also an eye-opener as to how Christians from different denominations can come together. The divisions among the Christian groupings is really something that has reached its sell-by-date and there is urgent need for church leaders to bang heads and fix their differences, which are mainly shrouded in history and power.
Shortly the Easter advertising campaigns will be rolled out and the shops will be a-flush with all things to do with Easter. It seems a good idea to let our bodies in someway or other be guided by the seasons and the idea of jumping ahead, forgetting about any sense of waiting can't be good for us.
I came across the following line last week: 'You can never get enough of what you really don't want.' It set me thinking. All the things we 'must have' and so often they fade into dust as soon as we get them. IKEA boss Steve Howard said last month: 'We talk about peak oil. I'd say we've peak red meat, peak sugar, peak stuff, peak home furnishings'.
Maybe this Lent might be a moment for all of us, believer or non-believer, to ask some pertinent questions about ourselves, who we are, what's the purpose of our lives?
Although it is about Advent, Patrick Kavanagh's words: 'We have tested and tasted too much, lover/Through a chink too wide there comes in no wonder,' are worth thinking about at the beginning of Lent.