Have you ever noticed when attending various church services throughout the year, how the priests’ stole and the altar cloths change colour at various times? Have you ever wondered why?
Well, the churches year is made up of different seasons, and each season has it’s own colour. During Advent and Lent, Purple is used as a sign of penitence and preparation. Christmas and Easter will see the altar and priest dressed in Gold and White, colours of purity, triumph and glory. Red is used for Pentecost, when we celebrate the flames of the Holy Spirit descending on the heads of the disciples following the resurrection of Jesus. Red is also worn to represent the martyrs, who have given their lives in faith. Green is used for “ordinary” time, in between major festivals.
This month we see an end to the season of Lent, and experience the most important of all seasons in the churches year, Holy Week and Easter. It begins with Palm Sunday, when palm crosses are handed to people in remembrance of the triumphant entrance into Jerusalem of Jesus, riding on a donkey, and people would lay palm leaves and branches under His way.
During Holy Week we think of the last few days Jesus spent with his disciples, teaching, healing, and preparing for what was to come. We see him overturning the money changers and traders in the temple, a man who is angry and frustrated at the lack of respect for God’s house.
Maundy Thursday is the day we celebrate the Last Supper, when a sorrowful Jesus shared bread and wine with his friends, as symbols of his body and blood.
We then reflect on Jesus seeking the peace of the Garden of Gethsemane, where He goes to pray and where, in one, brief simple moment, we see the humanity of a man frightened and vulnerable (and how many of us have had one or more of those moments?), but we also see a man of courage who says..”if it is to be, it will be”!
Then comes Good Friday, and many people ask why it is called Good Friday when Jesus suffered pain on the cross? It is called Good Friday because Jesus died for the good of all mankind, whether they accept him or not. It is also called Good because it leads us to the glory of the Resurrection and the promise of eternal life for us all. It is a day when love reigned unconditionally.
Then comes the thrill of Easter Sunday, the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus with gold and white altar cloths, and the springing of new life all round us in the blossoming trees and profusion of daffodil’s and crocuses, and yes…chocolate Easter Eggs!!
This year, we think off all those who are having to start a new life away from their home and country, families and friends, because of war and violence. This Easter we count our blessings, and perhaps in our own small way, whether through donating essential goods or money to the DEC for those less fortunate, let us be all become a blessing to each other.
With love and Blessings for a blessed Holy Week and Easter,