LETTER FROM THE VICAR
The March edition covers Lent and Holy Week, as we walk the road with Jesus towards the horror of the cross. The last day of March is Holy Saturday, when church tradition speaks of Jesus "harrowing hell" and redeeming all those souls lost before his appearance on earth. Maybe it feels like we might want to go to sleep for all of March and wake up when it's all over?! However, let's not forget that we are a people of the Resurrection, for Jesus has risen for each of us and offers Salvation to every one of us. Lent is a time of recalling the abuse, the rejection, the humiliation and the ostracism that Jesus had to undergo in order to save us. Lent is a time of gratitude on our part and showing that gratitude by living the life that Jesus called us to.
The winter has brought many troubles to people we know, as well as to people in our congregations. A number of us have had falls on the ice, and I'm one of them! Broken bones and hospital visits have just been one feature of the winter for lots of people. I want to thank everybody who was sent lovely cards, wishing me well and for all of those kind people who have helped me out by giving me lifts that enable me to continue ministering, while I'm not able to drive. It is good that we are a supportive Christian community. When I've been asked how I'm getting to various events, people who are not churchgoers have been surprised, but also heartened, that fellow Christians have put themselves out to help me. That, itself, is a witness to the Christian faith.
During Lent you are encouraged to follow daily devotions as part of your own personal prayer life using the "Live Lent: let your light shine" booklet produced by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. Some copies may still be available from Rev Jane Arnold or you can buy your own from Church House Publishing on the internet. Bill Hazelton is offering a Lent course using this book in 5 or 6 sessions at Church of the Ascension. Give him a call if you would like to take part (01384 250366).
Lent and its stories from the Bible remind us of Jesus' devotion and love towards all humans. Which of us would be willing to go through all the things that he did for the sake of our fellows? We might undergo great suffering for our families, but would we for strangers, for foreigners, for the poor in our midst, people sleeping in shop doorways and for those who hate us and revile us? Because, that's exactly what Jesus does. Our gratitude for what Jesus has done for us has to be shown in the generosity and kindness with which we treat everyone around us, whoever they are and whatever they think of us. When we are able to do even a little bit of that, then we get an insight into what the stature of God truly is.