Friday 6 April 2007

Easter Weekend

Here in the UK they don't have the idea of separation of church and state. The Queen is the Head of the Church of England (C of E) and also instructs the Parliament to form. Parliament's sole purpose is to run the country. As you can see the role of Queen intrinsically links the church and the state.

Today is Good Friday and Monday is Easter Monday. Both days are bank holidays which means we get the days off work by law. I always find it a little strange that we get religious holidays off. But it is a good time to spend with the family and get the garden sorted.

As a child, my mother dressed me up in the requisite Easter Bonnet complete with matching handbag. My Easter eggs were never very good and I never found very many during the hunt due to having 3 brothers who were nothing short of maniacs. But I did love the candy left in our Easter baskets. The difference between how they do Easter eggs is completely different from the UK and the USA. They don't dye proper eggs here. We are all in a bit of a panic because Asda didn't have the kit this year like they normally do. We are going to paint ours. literally. They give chocolate eggs, big and small, over here to the children. That's it. In the USA the candy is far more imaginable and varied. The marshmallow chicks and bunnys are my favourites! And I dare you to try and find plastic eggs for money. Nothing short of impossible.

I was raised a Catholic, attended to Catholic school, went to mass every Sunday, the first Monday of the month, and every holy day imaginable. As an adult, I loved going to Mass with Nanny and on several occasions I have gone to service at C of E here in the UK which is very similar to the Catholic Church. The only difference between the Catholic and C of E being that Henry VIII wanted a divorce and the pope wouldn't give it to him so he formed his own church. But that was a long time ago.

I occasionally go to church. I love the pageantry and celebration of a church service. I love the signing of hymns. I love the architecture (especially in Europe) and the stunning stained glass windws. I believe that many of the messages taught in the church are relevant and useful today. Faith brings many people comfort and purpose. There is nothing wrong with this. And sometimes I go just to see if they've got anything new to add......

Easter weekend is my favourite time to go to church. On Good Friday, the service is sombre, grey, sad, as you would expect it to be when recognising that on this day an innocent man who taught others to love and forgive, who was not guilty of any crime, who was unjustly accused and convicted, was killed. In the most outrageous and humiliating way. That is a time for reflection.

The ladies and men of the church keep watch in the church after Good Friday service until Easter Sunday morning. The churches here are old and dimly lit. They tend to be cold and made of grey stone. The parishioners stay at the church and hold a prayer vigil, just as you would imagine a grieving mother/father/friend to stay behind at a grave for their loved one. During this time I reflect on those who have left us physically but not spiritually. I reflect on those who have died too young to meet their grandchildren or those children who have died too young to grow into adults and realise all the potential inside themselves. This is a sad time.

But then all the promise of life is reaffirmed on Easter Sunday. Love, Hope, Possibility and Forgiveness. All good messages regardless of your religion, your beliefs, your faith.

Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

1 comment:

Janell said...

What a CUTE little girl in her Easter finery - now we know where Abigail gets her charm.
The marshmallow chicks are my favorite, too. I ate so many one time, I swear they gave me a hangover!
God bless you and your's this Easter weekend!