Weekly Update – 20/02
This update will cover two weeks as I am away for my daughter’s wedding in the New Forest– I need to take time off to write my speech and pay a cheeky visit to the motor museum at Beaulieu!
My return will see us enter the new church season of Lent as we count down to Easter. Tuesday 1st March will be ‘Shrove Tuesday’ and the Wednesday will be that point at which we enter this new season. That day is referred to as Ash Wednesday and there will be services at St Nicholas (10am) and St Paul’s (7pm) to mark the occasion, at which those attending will be offered the opportunity to be ‘ashed’.
Ashes are an ancient sign of ‘penitence’ (sorrow) and from the Middle Ages it became the custom to begin Lent by being marked with the sign of the cross on your forehead using ash. There is also a tradition that the ash is made from burning palm crosses that were given out on Palm Sunday in the previous year. If you have any such crosses, please do leave them at the back of church and I can use them accordingly.
Lent is a time associated with ‘giving something up’ that is founded on the principle of taking a time of self-denial as a spiritual discipline that is about focusing more fully on God. In a busy world it is often difficult to focus on what is beyond ourselves but there may be moments where we can take time, with a little creativity e.g. you’ve just parked the car – before getting out just sit for a moment, possibly make a habit of it every time you park somewhere.
As we work our way through Lent, so we approach Holy Week, the final days before Easter and the bible readings for the season begin to anticipate the story of the suffering of Christ. They remind us that these words were not written by people living in comfort but by those surrounded by struggle and terror. Such things still inhabit our world and currently we hold up to God the unfolding situation in the Ukraine and pray for calm, peace, and right thinking – our 10am Oasis Communion service this coming Sunday will be focused on this issue.
Ps. Please note ENCOUNTER SERVICE Sunday 27th February at 6.30pm will be online only.
LIVING IN LOVE AND FAITH – A FIVE WEEK COURSE FOR LENT
An exploration of Christian teaching and learning about identity, sexuality, relationships, and marriage. The church is very aware that issues of gender and sexuality are intrinsic to people’s experience, their sense of identity, their lives, and their loving relationships.
BEGINS WEDNESDAY 9th MARCH, 7.30pm, ST NICHOLAS CHURCH