Just three years ago, Easter became something very different for me from the, break from work, chocolate guzzling
To my astonishment I found myself being baptised and confirmed into a new way of looking at life.
There was nothing inherently wrong with the old way of life, after all, it was the same as many millions of other peoples' lives, but this "sea-change" wrought from the catalyst of my husband's death was, also for me, a kind of death.
Death of a life-long approach to the world and to its problems, views, prejudices and self-serving indifference to the needs of others.
Many times over the previous thirty or forty years I had tentatively approached the idea of Christianity as a way of life, but had always come to the same conclusion, namely that Christians were a particular kind of person.
My background and upbringing had taught me that religion was the single greatest stumbling block to any kind of social justice and equality, and further, that where Christianity of the Roman Catholic persuasion was concerned, was an active ingredient in maintaining the status quo in all the poorest countries of the world.
Some of these views I still adhere to today, but having accepted the basic tenet of Christ's teaching, with love at its foundation, I have slowly, very very slowly become able. for the first time in my life, to accept every person I meet, as a potential friend.
Such an idea would have been anathema to my former 'self', viewing as I did, every new contact with a sort of guarded chilly formality, born I think, of fear.
Brought up to be well mannered, i had somehow convinced myself that that was all that was required of me on being introduced to new people.
It is very late in life to be discovering that an open, warm and (dare I say, loving) approach to each new contact almost always receives a similarly warm and loving response.
At St. Mary's, we have just completed a hugely satisfying (if gruelling) four days of Easter services. Each one unique in its flavour, and each serving a different purpose in the Easter 'story', but the whole four days has had a most profound affect on my stony heart, and, at last, the thaw is beginning.
I only need to live about another forty years for the process to be complete.
Happy Easter everybody.