I’m writing this on a beautiful February day when one could be forgiven for thinking that spring was already here. The sun is shining, the crocuses have opened wide, the birds are singing and on my way home from church I noticed some furry catkins. Hard to believe we were ankle deep in snow just a couple of weeks ago. Still, we must not get ahead of ourselves. It won’t officially be spring for another month and a bit and there may be frosty nights yet to come, so the little daffodils I also spotted should beware!
Easter is later this year and therefore so, also, is Lent which starts officially on Ash Wednesday, 6th March. There will be an ‘ashing’ service that evening at Bracknell led by Revd. Jackie Case and if you have never been to one before, I would urge you to give it a go. It is quite a solemn service as befits the beginning of this Lenten season of reflection and penitence which leads us towards the joy and celebration of Easter Day. Rather like today’s ‘false spring’, we should not rush into Easter too quickly but journey towards it, giving ourselves time and space to reflect on all that Jesus said and did as He journeyed towards Jerusalem and the Cross, and all that He continues to do in our lives today by the action of His Holy Spirit.
As part of that Lenten journey I invite you to come and join one of the Bible study groups that run here at church. There is a daytime one, held fortnightly (dates elsewhere in this newsletter and the weekly notices), and an evening one. Both are on a Tuesday and we will be engaging in a special Lent study. Even if you find it difficult to commit to a regular Bible study, please know you would be very welcome to join either group just for the period of Lent.
In your own private devotions too, I pray you will find that God draws especially close over these coming weeks. For my own reflections I am going to be using a Bible Reading Fellowship (BRF) book entitled ‘At Home in Lent’ by Gordon Giles which explores Lent through 46 objects. If any of you would like to join me in this, I can get hold of more copies of the book, just let me know.
Finally, one practical challenge this Lent. Grab yourself a black bag and for each day of Lent, place one item in it to give away to a charity shop. Start with those clothes at the back of your wardrobe that haven’t been worn in years and then see what else is laying around your home that you are able to part with. My guess is the first ten items or so will be easy but to find 40 things will cost us a little. But then, that’s the point of Lent, isn’t it, that it shouldn’t be too easy a journey to make? Are you up for it?!
May God bless you richly this Lent and guide your hearts, minds and souls towards the glorious rising of His Easter Son.