Keeping a Holy Lent means taking active steps to underline our ‘set-apartness’ somewhat, it should remind us of what we believe and encourage us to be open to God; to set a little time apart for him. So – yes – it should involve a little effort!
Lent begins on the 14th February with two services for Ash Wednesday (10.00am and 7.30pm) and I would urge you to try to come to one of them. The Church of England does not have ‘holy days of obligation’ as such but this is one of the most significant days in our calendar.
Ashing will take place at both services – and this is a poignant reminder of both our mortality and our sinfulness, when you hear the words: ‘Remember that you are dust and unto dust you shall return; turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ’ as you are ashed. There is an old saying, reminding us of our duty in Lent: ‘Prayer for the good of your soul, fasting for the good of your body, almsgiving for the good of your neighbour’ and the idea is that you do all of those things.
Therefore, I would ask you to consider carefully how you could make Lent significant (or significantly different) for you this year. Lent, though, shouldn’t be a time of being miserable…it is a time for concentration on fundamental values and priorities, and is not a time for self punishment.
The Christian Lent is a time for opening up to God and seeing through some of the shadows inside us. You could:
- Try the Lent course (see below)
- Try to read some of the Bible every day, or on a regular basis (ask about Bible reading notes).
- Come to a mid-week service as often as possible in Lent (Morning or Evening prayer or one of the Eucharists).
- Read a good book – have a look in the library at church.
- If you give up something for Lent put the money you save towards a good cause.
- Volunteer your time to do something for someone else.
It is also traditional to make your confession in Lent – a gentle, peaceful yet powerful experience, remembering that the Anglican teaching with regard to private confession is, “All may, some should, none must“. Contact Fr David if you would like to find out more. There is always the opportunity to be referred to a member of the clergy outside the parish if desired.
What we are basically trying to do is to make an effort to deepen our faith, to learn more about it, to be better neighbours, to come closer to God, to wipe the slate clean – and more. You can be as creative as you like so long as whatever you choose makes you fully aware of, and engaged in, this season of penitence and self-examination.
May you keep a holy Lent…
Starting on 21st February, Fr David will be holding a Lent course on Wednesdays for 5 weeks, with the option to attend at either 11.00am or 6.30pm.
This year’s course will focus on Christ’s seven last words from The Cross and will be drawing on material from Timothy Radcliffe’s book ‘Seven Last Words’. It is not necessary to have a copy of the book to attend the course, however if you feel you would like a copy to read at home between the sessions please talk to Fr David, who can order copies at £11.99 each. The 6.30pm sessions will be followed by Compline in church.
Please consider coming along and encourage someone else or bring a friend, to spend time together preparing ourselves for Holy Week.
Books on prayer and spirituality
There are books on prayer and spirituality in our library to borrow.
Holy Week: 25th to 31st March
At the end of Lent there is Holy Week – the week before Easter (25th – 31st March) when there will be something happening every day. See our Easter and Holy Week Services 2018 page for further details.