March will be full of important dates

March 1st is the beginning of spring according to the Meteorological calendar. The equinox is on March 20th and this is the astronomical event that marks the turn of the seasons. When nature determines that spring has sprung is much more difficult to predict! I guess the easiest way is to look around and see when plants and trees put out their new growth. But even nature can be caught out by a late sharp frost. Lastly, Easter Sunday, March 31st is the beginning of British Sumer time, the clocks move forward one hour. Which means one hour less sleep!

This month of March will prove to be a busy time in the church’s year.  March 10th is Mothering Sunday. This marks the mid-point of Lent. Traditionally, it was a time when apprentices and people in service were given the day off and allowed to return home to their mothers.  For some of these people, it was the only day off they were given. It is no wonder that Mothering Sunday is also called Refreshment Sunday! 

Palm Sunday, March 24th marks the start of Holy Week. It remembers Jesus’ popular acclamation by Jerusalem to be the saviour who would overturn the oppressive Roman occupation.  Judas is drawn into handing Jesus over to be arrested. The climax of the plot comes on Maundy Thursday, March 28th  when Jesus celebrates the Passover with his disciples and announces that he is going to be betrayed and killed.  Good Friday, March 29th remembers Jesus’ trial and conviction by Pilate.  It is the same crowd who praised God on Palm Sunday, who now shout ‘Crucify him’. Jesus is crucified and dies on the cross.

Easter Sunday is on March 31st. The day starts at first light with the disappearance of Jesus’ body and the first appearance of the risen Jesus to Mary of Magdalene.  Jesus appears to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. Doubt in this case is not rooted in disbelief in the events themselves but in the understanding of what might be happening and its significance.  The resurrection presents many unanswered questions, which make it more of a mystery than an open and shut case for understanding. I am happy to grapple with doubts even if there may not be a satisfactory explanation on this side of death.  Perhaps the full understanding comes from our experience of resurrection. Jesus is never critical of the doubts but uses them to provide proof for the resurrection.  I am sure that the questioning and the doubting are part of growing our faith as long as we allow God the freedom to work within us. Being able to freely admit that we do not know the answer is perhaps the first step to finding some answers.