We are still in the Easter Season and will be until Ascension Day on May 17th but I just wanted to reflect on Easter Day. Our church here at Bishop Burton was beautifully decorated following the asceticism of Lent when no flowers are to be seen inside church; flowers truly do say something about celebration, the beauty of creation and the hand of our Creator God. Thank you to everyone who made it look so lovely especially as this year we were able to baptise Eliza Belle Elvidge on this very special day, a custom that dates way back to the early years of the Christian Church.

 

It is generally agreed that by about AD150 wanting to become a Christian involved three stages. The first stage was an initial commitment to faith; the second stage was a probationary period during which the new believer was expected to show the sincerity of his or her new faith by a real change in life patterns. Justin Martyr, early church theologian, outlines three requirements for this stage: being sorry for any wrongs we have done, learning and accepting the church's teachings, and changing one's life. The third stage was the baptismal period: believers were required to fast and pray for several days before Easter and were baptized on Easter morning.

 

By the early third century this pattern had become firmly established and so it was with great pleasure and joy that we were able to welcome Eliza into the family of the church.

 

The Easter Season ends with the celebration of our Lord’s ascension and we will be holding a service in church on Thursday May 17th at 7.30 p.m., a service to which all the local churches have been invited.

 

Ruth Newton

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