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VOICE OF THE SUNDAY Mirror: Take time to think on this sacred day.

EASTER is the most sacred time in the Christian year.

It is now also one of the most important times in the High Street, with the holiday weekend providing a pounds 5billion bonanza where once there was nothing but closed shops.

You can't move for Easter eggs, Easter bunnies, hot cross buns and hot cross families battling their way round the shops in search of special Easter offers, from gardening to DIY.

Thorpe Park and Alton Towers pack them in as the churches battle to fill the pews.

Christ rose on the third day, but so do the profits of Tesco, Sainsbury's and the rest.

The crowds in the stores show there is no doubt this is what customers want. But, as the Archbishop of Birmingham says in today's Sunday Mirror, the Christian reality of Easter is a great deal more than that.

The belief in the resurrection of Christ from the dead - the cornerstone of the faith - means there must be more to life than acquisition and commercial success.

Faith adds a dimension to life we can easily forget. It means an unconditional acceptance of eternal life. It means there is more to this life than the next bargain and the next traffic jam. In a world that gets ever more hectic it is easy to forget we should treat others as we would like to be treated.

Yes, the 21st Century has brought us undreamed of progress. But without charity and love for others we are poor as church mice.

The Christian message of Easter is that Jesus died so we might live. It was an unselfish example that has been followed by many fine men and women who have laid down their lives in the service of others.

Today is the day to remember that sacrifice. And still enjoy the Easter eggs.
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Leaders
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 16, 2006
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