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It is so hard to believe that it is now March. Where on earth is the time going?
Welcome to March at St. Johns. This month we enter into the season of Lent. This has been an important season in the church since the very earliest times. It is a season that is marked by the theme of repentance. For us at St Johns we have used the term “Turning Around.” This is what repentance is about. It is about stopping, assessing where you are in your relationship with God, and turning around so that you are going in the direction that leads to God’s purposes.
The obvious question, though, is, how do we do all this?
Prayer: It is important that we spend time in prayer. This can take whatever time you need to have it take. It can be formal, or informal, it can be at home, in your office, or in a church. At St. Johns we have Morning Prayer Sunday 7.30 am, and Monday to Thursday at 7 am. A number of people have already taken up this opportunity and joined us on one or more of these days and times.
Fasting: Lent is often associated with “Giving Up” something. It might be chocolate, alcohol, red meat, a whole variety of things. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, if we just give up something without the associated spiritual replacement then it is really an empty gesture. The whole idea of giving up something initially was so that we would have an opportunity of doing something positive that had a spiritual centre. So we might give up sleeping in on a Saturday so that we might say our prayers. We might give up chocolate and put the money aside and save it up and use it to send to a charity or a church charity, or put it in the parish church mission budget. I encourage people in Lent to take on something rather than give something up, but it might mean giving up something beforehand.
Acts of Mercy: This goes hand in hand with what I described above. Give up something so you can take on act of mercy. You might consider giving up road rage so you can be calm and forgiving when other drivers do dumb things. You might decide to give up retorting or arguing and instead be gentler. There are a myriad of things that can be done.
The point is, Lent is about reorientating our relationship with God.
I wish you all every blessing and God’s peace as you journey with God this Lent
written by our former Rector, Father Bill Weston
God our Father, send your Holy Spirit upon the people of this parish. Give us a greater love for all. Make us more compassionate for the sick, the lonely and all in need, more zealous in the inspiration of the young, more concerned about the wider mission of the Church and more generous in our giving of service and money. Help each one of us to know what we ought to do and give us strength and courage faithfully to do it, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen