Easter is in late April this year. It is the fifth latest date for Easter. If your birthday is on 21stApril, the last time Easter landed on your birthday was 1957. However, if you live long enough there are a few Easter birthdays to come in 2030, 2041 and 2052! Then it will be nearly another fifty years until you see Easter on your birthday again; make the most of these four Easters. Back to the pancakes: because Easter is later, Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) is on 5th March. The date of Easter is a moveable feast and everything else has to try and fit around it, which is often easier said than done. Take for instance the school term. The spring term can be very short. This year with a late Easter, the term is twelve weeks long, two or three weeks longer than usual. Consequently, the first half term of the summer term is just five weeks long with three bank holidays to fit in.
In the church year, it often feels that Easter comes hot on the heels of Christmas. When Easter is as late as this year, there is a gap of a month between the end of Christmas and the beginning of Lent. The church calls this ordinary time when there is no special season. On the face of it,this does not seem very interesting. Yet writing this article between Christmas and New Year, when I have been busy and pressurised by work, the idea of a quieter simpler time is enormously appealing. We can only stretch ourselves beyond our normal capacity for a short period of time. Doing anything excessively always results in some form of damage. If we ignore the warning signals, we start making bad judgments, forgetting important things and often becoming ill. Our lives need to be accentuated by highlights which encourage and enthuse. We have to endure the low points in our lives. For most of the time,our lives should be normal and balanced. Too much of the good stuff can be exhausting and make us complacent. Too much of the bad stuff can make us feel low, withdrawn and lead to depression and illness. Life has, for the most part, to be lived normally. What is normal? This is a cause of great debate but I think we know what is right and good for us and we should aspire to get that balance. As part of normal living, there needs to be a good spiritual dimension. We need to keep the lines of communication open to God. God is not just there for a crisis and important times. It is just as important to share our small worries and simple thanks on a daily and regular basis. It is important to develop a real relationship with God and include Him as an integral part of our everyday lives.
Ordinary time reminds us that we need to cultivate a good and healthy lifestyle that incorporates a real spiritual dimension. A little and often works so much better than crisis management.
Rev. Martin Wood. The Rectory, Church Lane, Cheriton Bishop EX6 6HY 01647 24119 (Tuesday to Sunday) firstname.lastname@example.org