Published on Wed, 2 Mar 2022 20:02

I often write at this time of year how Lent seems to rush on the heels of Christmas and Epiphany and how our focus in church changes quickly from all the celebrations of a new born child to a more austere and disciplined time of the church year.  This year there have been 4 weeks between the end of the Epiphany Season at Candlemas to the start of Lent, which has given us a little more time to prepare for things.  Which is good because as we know this time of year is a time to get ready.

Lent is a time of preparation for the coming Easter celebration.  During this time we try and focus our lives a little differently so that we can give ourselves more fully to God and be aware of the great things that he has done through the life and sacrifice on the cross of his Son, Jesus.  Many people undertake a slightly different discipline during Lent to reflect this sense of preparation and getting oneself in the right frame of mind.  This is a good thing, but the problem is that for many a sense there can be a sense of tokenism whereby we think we are doing Lent properly if we deny ourselves some small pleasure such as chocolate biscuits or sweets. 

The idea of abstaining from certain things is to give ourselves time, extra time to spend with God in prayer and reflection.  And for this reason, I have been of the opinion that in Lent, rather than giving something up we are in fact trying to do something new, some extra thing that will bring us closer to God.  Many of us might read a spiritual book to accompany us through Lent or spend extra time in prayer and reflection. 

This year we are hosting a course at St. Mark’s which is being run by the diocese.  It’s called, Discovering and using our spiritual gifts.  It starts on Wednesday March 9th and there are 5 weekly sessions in all.  If you would like to book a place on this course you need to do that online at the following address: https://www.equiphub.org.uk/category/bcdm/ and then click on the relevant course title.

There is another initiative you can get involved with called Bless Rugby.  This is where people are asked to prayer walk around the streets of our town, praying for residents and schools and businesses.  There is an app which you can use to mark off the streets that have been prayed for and you can find out more and sign up by visiting; www.blessrugby.prayerwalk.app 

To kick all this off there will be two services taking place on Ash Wednesday in church.  The first will be a Prayer Book service of Holy Communion at 10am which will include the imposition of ashes for those who wish to receive a cross in ash on their heads as a mark of entering this great penitential season.  The second will be at 7.30pm and will be a similar service but according to the Common Worship liturgy and will also have hymns and music.  I hope you will be able to come to one of these services to help you to start off this very important season of the Church’s year in the right way.

With every blessing

Tim

Categories Word from the Clergy