Lent is upon us once more and I am reminded of the sentence used by the priest as ash is placed on our foreheads. “Remember that dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return” It is such a powerful reminder of our mortality and of our place. These past twelve months have for some felt like a continual Lent . I have to admit I have found the last two months – post Christmas – very challenging – lonely, dark, frustrating and frightening. It has been difficult at times to see where God is in all of this, of course he has been in this right at its heart. What this pandemic has burst is the sometimes selfish arrogance of the human race. Arrogance breeds contempt as the writer to the first letter to Timothy, which was read at Morning Prayer this morning says “But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” 1 Timothy 6:6. The author is talking about money, but could equally apply to our way of life. Lent calls us in a gentle and mature way to a reassessment of our life in the context of our world, or societies, our families, ourselves and our God. This is not about beating ourselves up, but a mature reassessment of our way of life and our relationships, in order that we might grow and enjoy life to the full. So tonight when you watch our Mass on the parish Facebook page at 8pm remember that repentance is about an honest assessment of our life’s journey and if necessary a change of direction.
Ash Wednesday Mass is on Facebook tonight at 8pm
On Sunday we will be hosting Stations of the Cross at 6pm on Zoom. Please email for a link
On Tuesdays in Lent beginning on Tuesday 23 February at 6pm we will be studying our Lent book. Again this will be on Zoom, please email for a link, and we can also send you the information and reading material.
Peace be with you all.
As Lent begins on Ash Wednesday the Church marks this transition with a number of changes, for example the liturgical colour, used for clergy vestments, altar frontal etc, will change – from the green for ‘Ordinary Time’ we have been using – to purple to mark this season of self examination and preparation for Easter. There are also no flowers. Our liturgies also change during Lent, for example there are no ‘Glorias’ or ‘Alleluias’. At some churches banners with the word ‘Alleluia’ are ‘buried’ beneath the altar, accompanied by this ‘Prayer at the Burial of the Alleluia’:
It is our joy to sing and say Alleluia
As our response to your conquering of sin and death.
Now during the days of Lent
We say farewell to ‘Alleluia’,
So that we may take it up anew on Easter Day. Amen
As advertised last week, our St Nicholas Lent Course 2021 will start next Tuesday 23rd February at 6pm on Zoom. We shall be reflecting on a book by Paula Gooder, a highly-rated Biblical theologian and Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral entitled: A Way Through The Wilderness: Experiencing God’s Help in Times of Crisis. Attached here is the material for the first week. If you would like to join this group please email Hayley in the parish office so that she can send you the Zoom link.
You might also be interested in another online study course: ‘A River Through the Desert’. This video-course comes from St George’s College in Jerusalem and focuses on the physical features of the Holy Land to explore our faith through Lent. It will be posted each Sunday on St Michael & All Angels’ Bedford Park website and I will include the link in the following week’s St Nick’s bulletins. The subjects are as follows:
Week 1: The Desert
Week 2:The Water Well
Week 3: The Mountain
Week 4: The Sea
Week 5: The Road
Week 6: The Garden
With prayers that we may all keep a good and holy Lent