Rev Chris’s Weekly Update 05/02
In the annual cycle of the life of the church we have now left the Epiphany season which ended on Thursday 2nd February with Candlemas, a feast day that has been celebrated since the 4th Century as the day when the church candles were blessed. This all connects with the Christmas story and the coming of the Christ child as a light to all people.
We now enter into something of an ‘in between’ time prior to the arrival of Lent on Ash Wednesday, the 22nd February, when the focus shifts entirely to the other end of the life of Christ. In this ‘in between’ time (the technical church term is ‘ordinary time’ – because nothing special is going on) we do encounter the widely known feast day of St Valentine on the 14th February. How his name became associated with a day dedicated to courting couples is purely speculative at best and various stories abound, nevertheless it does provide an opportunity to reflect on the ‘power of love’ (whilst resisting the temptation to burst into the song by that name).
The word ‘love’ can have different meanings, certainly in biblical terms, depending on the Greek word that is used. ‘Eros’ means sensual, or romantic love, ‘Storge’ means familial love, and ‘Philia’ means brotherly/sisterly love. But there is one more and that is the highest love of all, ‘Agape’, which means God’s love for humanity, or to quote John’s gospel, ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ (JOHN 3:16)
As we journey towards Lent let us take time to consider the depth of God’s love that will become apparent in the unfolding events that lead to the pain and agony of the cross, the ultimate symbol of divine love.
ASH WEDNESDAY 22nd FEBRUARY
There will be Holy Communion services at both St Nicholas and St Paul’s on Ash Wednesday. Each of these will offer the opportunity for ‘ashing’ for those that wish to participate.
10am St Nicholas – Rev Julian
7pm St Paul’s – Rev Anthea