Lent and Easter are an important part of the Christian calendar.

The season of Lent lasts for forty days (not including Sundays).

It is a time when Christians reflect and prepare for the celebrations of Easter. Some people fast, eat frugally or give up treats following the example of Jesus, who fasted for forty days in the wilderness.

People also give to charity, set aside time to study the Bible and meet with other Christians to reflect on Jesus’ life and prepare for the events of Holy Week and Easter. 

Ashes made from palm crosses are blessed and are used to make crosses on people’s foreheads.

The custom dates back to the middle ages.

Ash Wednesday services set the tone for Lent, with sombre readings and hymns and a focus on penitence (saying sorry for and turning away from sin).

Holy Week is the name given to the week beginning on Palm Sunday and ending on Easter Sunday.

On Palm Sunday Jesus arrived in Jerusalem to crowds and cheers. His triumphant entry into Jerusalem has been celebrated on the Sunday before Easter since the first centuries of Christianity.

The crowds waved palm branches and covered his path with them. Churches remember this with crosses made from palm leaves and hold processions like the one that Jesus experienced – sometimes with a donkey, too! St Cuthberts Church will be holding onsite and online Palm Sunday services and events.

Maundy Thursday is the day when we remember Jesus sharing the Last Supper with his disciples before his death.

Maundy Thursday gets its name from the Latin word mandare meaning to command.

We remember Jesus’ command: ‘Love one another as I have loved you’. 

At the Last Supper Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. Some churches recreate this act of service at special services and events. This is not only an important reminder of the nature of Jesus, who we serve, but also the kind of service we are meant to demonstrate in our love for one another. 

Good Friday is the day when Christians remember the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. It is a sombre day. Usually, churches meet, pray and reflect on the sacrifice Jesus willingly paid for all our sins.

This year, many churches will be streaming their Good Friday services as well as meeting in person.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
John 3.16

Easter Vigil

The Easter Vigil is the first service of Easter and begins sometime on the evening of Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Day). It begins with a symbolic expectant waiting (usually outdoors around a fire) for the resurrection of Jesus on Easter morning, and this is represented visually by a large Easter candle, which is lit from the fire and brought into a darkened church. This depiction of new life and light represents Jesus’ resurrection on the first Easter morning.

The congregation then light their own candles from the Easter candle, representing their own new life as followers of Jesus. The service will contain a number of readings from the Bible, and also an opportunity for all the participants to renew the promises made at their baptism. The Easter Vigil is usually a quiet and thoughtful service, but one full of joy.

On Easter Sunday, churches across England will celebrate because Jesus died for our sins and then rose again.

On the third day after being crucified, Jesus’ tomb was found to be empty. He had risen from the dead. Life triumphs over death! The joy of resurrection is possible only because Christ endured death and conquered it. 

Some churches celebrate Jesus’ bringing life from death by making and blessing an Easter garden. Could you make an Easter garden with your family at home?

St Cuthberts Church will be live streaming our Easter Day 1030am service, as well as meeting in person.