In the Christian calendar we're nearly in Lent which begins with Ash Wednesday, March 5th, it is a time when we are called to examine our motives, our behaviour, our personal ambitions and even our worship.  Maybe we could say that we've arrived again at the moment when we start to examine what competes for our attention in our lives; in other words, where our priorities lie.

 

Now all this sounds very stern and gloomy, but Lent needn't be an unhappy season - in fact, it can be a purposeful and meaningful and, in that sense, an enlivening and clarifying time.  We could even see it as a time to find space to breathe!

 

A sermon that I heard a while back mentioned the story of trekkers in Africa striving onwards relentlessly on their journey, accompanied by native Africans acting as porters and guides.  There came a point where the Africans stopped for an unscheduled break. In response to the rather irate question 'Why have you stopped?' the trekkers received the reply: 'We need time to let our souls catch up with our bodies.'

 

If Lent is the season when we examine the aspects of our lives which compete for our attention, then perhaps this is what Jesus did when he went into the desert. It seems that he used this time to focus his whole attention on God, for 40 days he prayed in the wilderness, at the start of a new journey for his life.  We read in the Bible that while Jesus was there he was tested by offers of food, power and the chance of performing a daring stunt.  And maybe it's not that different for us; food or material things.  But I think there's something else 'in our day and age' that can prevent or hinder our souls from catching up with our bodies.  As the Africans on the journey said, we do need time to let our souls catch up, but we can't if we never make space to breathe - if we never have time to find our own desert.

 

I think we would all acknowledge that the pace of life has increased; that we can now get fast everything, and so many of us press forward relentlessly on our journeys.  And no wonder when we're aided by fast food, fast cars, fast connections on the internet, even faster cycles on our washing machines.  Result: more stress, more road accidents, nutritional deficiency in many, and more general dissatisfaction.  And certainly we would all acknowledge that we don't live in a desert! I haven't seen one in Bishop Burton, and so perhaps we might be wondering how we can recreate our own in this Lenten season.  Where is our desert to be?  In our gardens perhaps, or in our churches?  Perhaps in the peace of our homes even we could find a space to find some inner quiet, the kind that comes from listening to what is going on inside ourselves.

 

Perhaps, then, this Lent can be a positive time for us all as we prepare for Easter.  If we do wish to give something up, then perhaps it could be a little space and time to find our own desert place and use it as a means of drawing closer to each other and to our God.  Amen.

 

As you may recall from last month’s magazine, Angela has left for pastures new and therefore we are now in a vacancy situation and the parishes are working together to identify the needs for the future of ministry. The following is a prayer for the Holy Spirit to guide those who have to make the decision:

 

Almighty God the giver of all good gifts, guide with your heavenly wisdom those who are to choose a faithful pastor for this benefice: that we may receive one who will speak your word and serve your people according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

 

Bishop Richard has offered to lead our service of Holy Communion on March 9th at 11.00.

 

There will be a workshop for children on March 15th from 3.00 until 4.30. in the village Hall. Making gifts for Mothering Sunday.

 

The Annual General Meeting will take place on the 28th April at 8.00p.m. in the church.

 

Service times for March and April 2014

 

Date

Time

Service

2nd Mar

11.00a.m

Matins

9th Mar

11.00a.m.

BCP Holy Communion with Bishop Richard

16th Mar

11.00a.m.

Morning Prayer

23rd Mar

11.00a.m.

Holy Communion

30th Mar

11.00a.m

Mothering Sunday Celtic Morning Prayer

6th Apr

11.00a.m

Matins

13th Apr

11.00a.m

Palm Sunday Holy Communion

18th Apr

2.00p.m

The Last Hour-prayers and readings

20th Apr

11.00 a.m.

Easter Day Holy Communion

27th Apr

11.00a.m.

Morning Prayer

       

 

If anyone wishes to receive Holy Communion at home please contact me on 01482 841875.

 

Every good wish.

 Ruth Newton

 

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