The Chaplain's Column - March 2022

The Chaplain's Column - March 2022

The Chaplain’s Column – March 2022

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It seems strange that we will finish term with an Easter Service on Friday week. Strange because this year Easter takes place two weeks later. The date of Easter changes every year because it falls at the time of the Jewish Passover which is the first full moon after Nisan 14 in their lunar calendar. Thus, Easter can be any time from the beginning of March to the end of April. It is one of the quirks of the Christian calendar, which is based on the Gregorian calendar, that its major festival is determined by a lunar calendar! Yet this very quirk brings into focus the very nature of the event which Easter celebrates. For just as the Passover celebrates a great act of God in bringing the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt through the leadership of Moses, so Easter celebrates the great act of God in liberating all humanity from slavery to sin through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Moreover, as the events of Easter took place at a Passover, some of the elements of the Passover meal have become the central elements of the Christian Eucharist. The bread and wine of the Passover seder have become, through the words Jesus used at the Last Supper, his body and his blood of the New Covenant. Another connection between the Christian festival and the Jewish is seen in the names given to Easter in other languages such as Pascal or Pascua which directly relate to the Greek term for Passover (Πάσχα or Pascha). The term Easter itself according to an early English historian, the Venerable Bede, reflected a very early Celtic or Anglo-Saxon pagan festival celebrating the arrival of Spring. It might sound odd, but it was not unusual for early Christian missionaries to Christianise pagan festivals when they first preached the gospel to new peoples outside the Mediterranean world. In fact, this was part the advice that Pope Gregory gave when he sent St Augustine as the missionary to the Anglo-Saxons. Gregory was very wise because the new life that Spring brings with it, was an ideal symbol of the new spiritual life at the very heart of the Christian Easter. Moreover, the birth of Spring lambs was already living motif to underscore this message. Happy Easter!

Fr Patrick Duckworth
School Chaplain

Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Hope, Grace