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COUNTDOWN TO EASTER

Empty hands - free from A Church Near YouPancake Day, Lent and Holy Week are all part of the journey to Easter Day, the biggest Christian celebration of the year. It is a time when lots of people make time to think carefully about their life. For Christians, this means trying to live God’s way and remembering all that Jesus did.

Why we have Pancake Day

Pancake Day is also called Shrove Tuesday and is one last chance for a big party, before Lent begins with Ash Wednesday the next day.

Long ago, Christians traditionally used up all the eggs and fat they had in store by making pancakes and feasting on them. This was because when Lent came, they would eat less food, or even fast (do without food sometimes) to help them focus on God and not on the things they wanted. This tradition has been passed down the generations.

Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter, a date which changes every year. This year, we’ll be eating our pancakes on 25th February, before Lent begins on the 26th.

With eggs, flour, milk and butter, anyone can join in with Pancake Day.

Why is Lent important?

Lent is a time of getting ready for Easter. When Jesus was just getting started with his work, he went into the desert for 40 days to be all alone with God. He even went without food and prayed, and was tempted away from what God wanted him to do in all kinds of ways, but he resisted that temptation. You can read that story here in the Bible: Matthew 4:1-11.

During Lent, Christians often do something different too, like praying every day or reading the Bible more. This reminds us of Jesus’ time in the desert to focus just on God and feel closer to him. The good news is that Sundays are still celebration days – so you can take a break from fasting!

The last week of Lent is called Holy Week – during this time, the church remembers Jesus’ death on a cross.

Even young children can take part in Lent. For example giving up a sweet treat every day might remind children that we can live more simply.

Lent at St John’s

Churches may look quite different during Lent. There may be fewer decorations or flowers. This is because it’s a time to concentrate on God and remember how Jesus gave up his life on a cross to save all of us. It’s a big contrast when Easter Day arrives, when there’s lots of celebration, hallelujahs and joyful music!

Why not go along to a church service in Lent and play a game of spot-the-difference – how is it different to other services you have been to? Then go at Easter and play again!

Our special events in Lent are on four Thursday evenings starting on 12th March and continuing on the 19th and 26th March and then 2nd April, at 7.30pm each time. It’s a video-based course called ‘Getting to know the Bible’, using some lively short animated films made by The Bible Project.

We’ll begin with light refreshments, and each evening will have some brief general discussions, so we can share our own questions and learn from each other. The idea is simply to get to know the Bible better – to see the big picture, and enjoy it.

We will celebrate Mothering Sunday (Mothers’ Day) on 22nd March – that’s also called ‘mid-Lent Sunday’ – and then it’s Palm Sunday on 5th April, beginning Holy Week, which runs through to Good Friday on 10th April and Easter on 12th April.

Look out for more details of our Holy Week events!

Article taken from www.churchofenglandchristenings.org with permission