Published on February 27th, 2020 | by Content Admin0
Pastoral Letter March 2020
Revd Sue Cooper writes:
Hello Everyone, how wonderful it is to see that spring is just around the corner. The lengthening days give us cause to celebrate and look forward to brighter days ahead. We are just entering the season of Lent in the Church, and Lent gets a bad press. It is traditionally associated with a time of depriving ourselves, and going without some of the pleasures and luxuries of life. However, the reality is that Lent is supposed to remind us of the time that Jesus spent in the wilderness being tempted, and how this prepared him for his work; and we are encouraged to use Lent to reflect on this.
When Jesus was just getting started with his work, he went into the desert for 40 days to be all alone with God. He went without food and prayed, and was tempted away from what God wanted him to do in all kinds of ways, but he resisted that temptation. You can read about that in Matthew 4:1-11. During Lent, Christians are encouraged to do something different too, like setting special or extra time aside every day to be alone with God and to pray or read the Bible.
So how can we enter into Lent in a positive and prayerful way? It may be that we do give up something for Lent, but to make it more constructive we could take up something in its place and offer that as a living prayer to God. So for example, if you have a coffee habit, perhaps you could swap your usual Cappuccino or latte for something less expensive and collect the money saved during Lent and give it to Charity. Or Perhaps for a few minutes every day you could give up watching some telly and take up praying for whatever is in the current news that day. These are creative and constructive uses of our energies, which focus our efforts not only on God but on helping others.
When Jesus came out of the wilderness after 40 days, he had faced temptations and deprivation, yet in Luke’s gospel we are told that he came out “in the power of the Holy Spirit”, and he was able to go on doing his work with confidence, resilience and love. Sometimes we have to take time out of our usual activities to face our own ‘demons’ so to speak, it is why dry January has become so popular. The difference with Lent is that you enter the time with Jesus; you spend some conscious time in prayer and reflection, calling on him to help you with your problems or mistakes in life.
Every day we get a new chance to stop, and reflect on where we are in life and where we are heading. Every day we have another opportunity to turn to Jesus and invite him into our hearts and lives. Every day there is a new offer to wipe the slate clean and begin to change our lives for the better.
We will never fully comprehend the life and ministry of Jesus. But we don’t need to understand everything, we are told we just have to believe.
John 10:10 Jesus said “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”.
With love and blessings Revd Sue