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Viewpoint from Mary Ives 28/04/2017 

MARY GILBERTMary Ives
previously Area Director of YMCA Norfolk

also published in the Yarmouth Mercury

In churches and homes around the country we have recently celebrated Easter. I wonder what Easter means to you? Maybe it’s the fair, Easter bunnies, bonnets, or chocolate eggs. It could be the simnel cake, hot cross buns or the roast lamb for dinner at family.  Or does it have a deeper meaning? Christians are commemorating the fact that Jesus came to find a way to reconnect us to His Father through dying on the cross and rising again

dove leftWhen I was growing up my family didn’t talk much about the significance of Easter. Yes I knew Jesus died on Good Friday and that he rose again on Easter Sunday, but didn’t realise that Lent is an important part of the process of reflection in the forty days before. It was only in recent years as a member of the Anglican Church that this started to have some significance for me. We started Lent in February with the age old custom of Shrove Tuesday – or Pancake Day as it is more commonly called. Then for forty days people have traditionally given up something’ – maybe chocolate, cake or crisps. This is all about ‘self-denial’, something which has become rarer in recent years

This year many churches and schools have changed their approach to Lent and instead of being introspective they have become more community focused as they have taken on the 40Acts Challenge. This has made a positive impact by doing something kind each day – simple things which serve others and make them feel valued and by so doing brings the love of Jesus to many. What an opportunity it has been for Christians to practically show Jesus’ love in action

Dove rightJesus loved us so much he died on the cross. However, we know He rose from the dead on the third day, so we see Him as the risen Christ who was victorious over death. This brings hope to all who put entrust their lives to Him
 
The symbol of the empty cross has for years been used as a sign for Christians. Many will wear one to remind themselves daily that Jesus died for them. It is a sign of hope that has stood the test of time. It has endured much longer than the Easter bunnies, eggs and lambs which we see so much of these days. They too remind us of new life – and Easter can be a new beginning as we come to God and thank Him for sending His son to give us new life – the gospel or good news available to all


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