Dear Friend,
            As I reflect upon the Christian story that leads to Easter, I see not just the parallel with what happens as winter gives way to spring, but also what often happens in our spiritual lives.  It would be “nice” to imagine that we are simply “Resurrection people” whose faith consists of proclaiming, “Jesus is risen”.  But on its own, that would have no meaning, because there would have been no Good Friday – how could Jesus be “risen” if he had not previously died?  We could not meaningfully proclaim as Christians that death no longer has the final say.  We must walk through the valley of the shadow of death, as the psalmist reminds us, through Holy Week, as we wait to return to the green pastures beside the still waters on Easter Day.   
         The word Lent, from the Old English ‘lecten’ to lengthen, merely reflects the change of the seasons.  Yet Easter – at least in the northern hemisphere – comes at a time when life begins to return in the world around us.  I am writing on a mild March day.  As I look out into the cemetery, the snow has gone and I can even imagine the grass starting to green up.  The buds on the trees have not yet burst and the spring flowers are only just poking themselves above the ground so far.  Yet I know that they will, just as I know in the dark days of Holy Week that Easter morning will come again, and we shall be able to proclaim, “Christ is risen” with its response, “He is risen indeed!”
The theme of this year’s Lenten Study, in which we have explored Celtic teachings through the centuries.  Celtic theology emphasizes God’s good Creation, which is especially apposite in the springtime of the year.  All the people we met – Pelagius, Eriugena, Francis of Assisi – taught that to be disciples means striving to be like Jesus in our lives, rather than merely subscribing to a set of doctrinal beliefs.  May we be lights to the world and salt for the earth!
            I invite you to participate as much as you are able in Holy Week and Easter at St George’s.  On Wednesday afternoon, April 12, we will show a special Holy Week documentary The White Helmets, which won a 2017 Oscar.  It concerns the actions and faith of young men who devoted themselves to rescuing people trapped during the bombing of Aleppo when the civil authorities had broken down.
            Our pot-luck supper on Maundy Thursday reminds us of Jesus’ Last Supper with his disciples, when he first gave us those commands, “Do this to remember me” over the bread and the wine.  Like the Jewish Passover, this is a family celebration to which all are invited.  Afterwards we will hear the Scripture that records the events of Jesus’ betrayal that took place immediately after his Last Supper. 
            On Good Friday, we will retell the story of Jesus’ trial and crucifixion; a day of solemn prayer and reflection.  Finally, those of us who are early risers will be ready – and hoping for a clear day! – to proclaim “Christ is risen!” at our annual sunrise service at 6:15 on Easter morning.  It’s non-denominational, so invite your friends. There will be breakfast as a reward for getting up so early.  We will also celebrate a Resurrection Eucharist, as usual at 9:30.
            A very blessed Holy Week and Easter to you all! 

Your brother in Christ,