Thursday, 21 April 2011

Days of Celebration

Today, Thursday, is the beginning of the three day celebration of Easter - the most important time in the year for Christians. This period is one big celebration, remembering the last supper, the crucifixion and the death of Jesus, and the Resurrection to new life.

Maundy Thursday, the name 'Maundy' is derived from the Latin word “mandatum”, meaning a commandment. Jesus Christ, at the Last Supper, gave this following commanded:
'And now I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.'  These words are at the heart of being a follower of Jesus. Also  this day, Christians remember the Last Supper. During the meal Jesus took bread and wine and shared them with his disciples. Christians continue to share bread and wine as part of their worship in church as they symbolise the body (bread) and the blood (wine) and remind us of his death.

On Good Friday we remember the day that Jesus was killed on the cross. He was nailed to a wooden cross by Roman soldiers. This is the reason why the cross is an important sign for Christians today.  At Easter people eat hot cross buns which have a cross shape on the top.
It can seem strange that a day of death and suffering is known as 'Good' Friday. There are a number of theories as to why the day marking the crucifixion of Jesus is known in this way.  The word 'Good' may be a different spelling or rendering of 'God' or it may have another, now lost, meaning of 'holy'. Another theory is that the tragedy of the crucifixion of Jesus brought great 'good' to his followers.

Easter Sunday celebrates the resurrection from the dead of Jesus, three days after he was executed. The events of Easter Day separate Christianity our from all other world religions and is the very heart of Christianity. After Jesus was crucified on the Friday (now known as Good Friday), his body was taken down from the cross, and buried in a cave tomb. The tomb was guarded by Roman Soldiers and an enormous stone was put over the entrance, so that no-one could steal the body. On the Sunday, Mary Magdalene, followed later by some of Jesus' disciples visited the tomb and found that the stone had been moved, and that Jesus' body had gone

For me the next few days are days of celebration – the death and resurrection of Jesus means that in the midst of life we can find hope. Has he risen or He has risen!  If he has then everything has changed.

Have a great Easter everyone!!