The long, cold nights of winter have given way to the longer, brighter spring days, and even if the weather has been a little hit and miss in recent weeks I’m sure we will all be looking forward to the long Easter weekend.
Easter is a time of relaxation and reflection for many people, perhaps an opportunity for time with family and friends, a chance for a mini-break, getting a DIY project completed, and of course for those with a sweet tooth, the consumption of chocolate! I also know that it will be a time when many continue to work as normal, particularly in our NHS and emergency services, and I want to thank them again for the hard work they do to look after us.
This year’s Easter will be extra-special for many Christians, as it will be the first time in three years that many churches have been open for Good Friday and Easter Sunday services. The restrictions on our lives during the pandemic was a tough time for all of us, whether that was being apart from family, friends, work colleagues, and it was also a tough time for those in faith groups who couldn’t gather physically in their places of worship.
The pandemic was a time to remember that we should never take our freedoms for granted, and that includes our freedom of religion which has been a key cornerstone of our civil liberties for centuries. I am proud that in the UK people are free to pursue whichever they faith they choose, and also free not to pursue a faith at all. It is a freedom that many people across the world sadly do not have. I am proud that our country takes a strong lead in championing religious tolerance, and will be hosting a global summit on religious freedom later this year.
However you are spending your Easter weekend, I hope it is an enjoyable and relaxing few days, doing what you enjoy the most with those closest to you.
This article first appeared in the Halesowen & Dudley News on 7th April 2022.