Monday, 23 September 2019

Church service held in darkness to signal the coming of Christ

Church service held in darkness to signal the coming of Christ

AN EASTER fire was lit in front of St Mary’s church in Henley to mark the end of lent and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

More than 40 people watched Rev Jeremy Tayler and members of the choir light the fire at 8.45pm on Easter Saturday at the front of the church on Hart Street.

He led them in a procession from the Chantry House behind the church to the front before he gave a reading and proclaimed Christ had risen.

Rev Tayler then lit a fire and Easter candles before the congregation entered the church.

The service inside was conducted in almost total darkness until all the lights were switched on to symbolise light out of darkness.

Rev Tayler said it was an important day in the Christian calendar. He said: “If you go to places like Greece, it is pretty much the biggest day in the church year. 

“I love doing it. It is a tradition and I think it goes back to the fourth century in Jerusalem.  The pattern has spread throughout much of the Christian world.”

More than 100 people attended the church service the following day, Easter Sunday, but Rev Tayler said Saturday’s event was more important.

He said: “It goes back to the Jewish calendar. From a church point of view, the day starts in the evening.”

He added that holding the service on Saturday night meant it was dark enough to understand the image of Jesus Christ lighting up the world.  Afterwards, the congregation enjoyed sparkling wine and chocolates in the Chantry House.

For some it was particularly special because they had given up alcohol for Lent. 

Rev Tayler was pleased to have a drink again after 40 days and a rest on Monday. 

He added: “I enjoyed it very much. I have always loved Easter and Holy Week but you are pretty shattered afterwards.”

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