The Archbishop of York’s five ways to celebrate Easter

Dr John Sentamu on the best ways to spend your Easter weekend

1. Go for a walk
In the busy lives we all lead it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and forget about what’s important. Make the time to go for a walk with your family or friends. We have some fantastic countryside in Britain and it’s always good to spend time with those we love. You don’t have to go far – be inspired by people, places and landscapes that we have. And if you can’t get out, watch Countryfile! We don’t need an excuse to enjoy the world God has created.


2. Read a new book
Getting stuck into a book is a great way of relieving stress. It doesn’t have to be an epic trilogy that will take you from Good Friday to Easter Monday. I’ve been reading Jonathan Sacks’ The Great Partnership: God, Science and the Search for Meaning. But you might choose a contemporary novel or a classic. Go for it. I remember the joy of reading with my children when they were little. We read Dr Seuss endlessly – The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham. They loved them so much that eventually we could all recite them from beginning to end. Finding a quiet time to read is a challenge, but it’s always worth it.

3. Listen to a classic
If I had to choose just one programme for Easter, I would opt for Radio 2’s broadcast of Handel’s Messiah, with the Bach Choir and the BBC Concert Orchestra on Good Friday, part of At the Foot of the Cross at 8.00pm. In his career, Handel had to overcome criticism and failure, but the Messiah marked a turning point in his life. He wrote with passion, and his music portrays the pain and the wonder of the Easter story. The text of Messiah is taken from Bible passages portraying the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It opens with the chorus Behold the Lamb of God, which is followed by the aria He Was Despised. It is stunning. The section ends with the glorious Hallelujah Chorus, depicting the promises found in the Book of Revelation. What could be better at Easter?

4. Feast on chocolate
One of the ways in which the story of Easter has been communicated down the years has been the tradition of giving eggs. The symbolism of the eggs reminds us of new life, and also that this season should be a time of celebration. But if you are buying an Easter egg, buy one made from Fairtrade chocolate. It is important that farmers get a fair wage, no matter where they live. Fairtrade is a good way of guaranteeing your treat hasn’t been made by exploiting others. Not only will you be buying Fairtrade, you will also get an egg that tells the Christian story on the box. Be an egg-angelist!


5. Have a party!
For me Easter is not just a time for prayer but for parties. We can know forgiveness, new life, and the transforming power of God’s love. Why not come along to Church and share this joy with others? You can find your local church and what Easter services they have by visiting the website I’ll be at York Minster on Easter Sunday for the communion service at 10am, and then I’ll be going home to cook for my family. I’ll have to find my Mary Berry cookbook first!