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St George’s News - Waterlooville’s Parish Magazine

The Website for St George’s Church, Waterlooville and its Parish Magazine St George’s News

Easter 2020 issue

From the Vicar, Fr Dr Colin Lawlor

The Purpose of Lent, Holy Week and Easter

I was delighted that so many of you signed up for our Lent course this year. Sadly our reflections on St Benedict were cut short as a result of Covid-19, but I hope that the groups might reconvene when the current pandemic crisis is over, not least because there were so many positive comments from those who undertook the course, and because there is a great deal of wisdom in the writings of St Benedict in challenging and guiding each one of us in our Christian pilgrimage, and not just through Lent. This year our Lenten journey, and our journey through Holy Week will be different, but I hope that we all manage to get a sense of our journey with Jesus to Jerusalem and beyond and that the materials that have been given to you either through live streaming, websites, television broadcasts, radio, homilies and services to use at home during Holy Week will help you in this journey.

The Russian Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann once wrote a book in which he discusses the purpose of Lent and Easter. He reflects that in the early Church the main purpose of Lent was to prepare newly converted Christians for baptism which at that time would have taken place during the Easter Vigil at which the local bishop would preside. In time the church increasingly baptised people as babies, and this is still the norm (although in recent years there have been an increasing number of adults coming for baptism). Baptism generally does not take place at the Easter Vigil but happens throughout the year, and it is usually the parish priest who performs the ceremony on behalf of the bishop. But the basic meaning of Lent remains the same because even though we may have been baptised we constantly betray what it is we received at our baptism through the sin which distances us from God. There is a sense in which Easter is our return each year to our own baptism (which is why we usually renew our Baptismal promises at the Easter Vigil). Lent is our preparation for that return by acts of humility and repentance. Each year Lent, Holy Week and Easter are once again the rediscovery and the recovery by us of what we were made through our own baptismal death and resurrection.

Although Lent and Holy Week will have been different this year, I pray that we will nonetheless be able to come to Easter Day with the resurrection joy which is God’s promise to us.

With my prayers and best wishes

Fr Colin

At the time of publishing this Easter issue of St George’s News, Our Church Buildings are closed. Many of our Church Family are in lockdown confined to home. Fr Colin writes:

“This is truly an unprecedented situation, but these are indeed unprecedented times. The church will need to remain closed for the time being, but please continue to pray at home for the church and for the world and for all people in need at this time. Please also remember in your prayers those who work in the emergency services and continue in their duties inspite of personal risk to themselves. As a church, we will continue to care for those in our community who are vulnerable and our pastoral team will keep in contact with those who might be on their own and might need our support. Look after yourselves, reflect on how you might help each other and pray for a swift resolution to the current crisis. Please be assured of my continued prayers for you all. I look forward to a time when we can meet together, worship together, and celebrate together.

With love and prayers, Fr Colin.