Lent – God’s Springtime
The weeks leading up to Easter, when the earth around us is springing into life, can be a very special season of the year for Christians. Lent gives us the opportunity to open the doors of our lives to God and to do some ‘spiritual gardening’: to give time and attention to growing in our faith by, as it were, sowing new seeds, tending established plants and doing a bit of spiritual weeding. It is above all about drawing close to Jesus as we reflect on the new life he offers us at immense cost to himself.
I love the verse from Micah 6:8 which sums up how we seek to live our lives as Christians:
‘What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.’
Here are some of the ways in which we in the Arden Marches Churches can support and encourage each other in this season of new growth:
Lent Course: The Mystery of Everything
A Churches Together course based on the film ‘The theory of everything’. The course explores ways in which the mysteries of the universe and of everyday life – and the acceptance that we have more questions than answers – can reinvigorate our faith and spiritual journey.
Thursdays 7.30pm at The Methodist Church
February 28th film showing
Discussion meetings: March 14th, 21st, 25th, April 4th, 11th
Lent Reading and Reflecting
‘The Mystery of Everything’ by Hilary Brand includes daily Bible readings and comments. It can be read as a standalone Lent book, and is also the book for the Lent Course. Copies can be obtained via Kate.
Other books you might enjoy (to source yourself) include
- ‘Reconciliation’ by Muthuraj Swamy – The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent Book
- ‘LentPilgrim’ produced by the Church of England – available as an App or paper leaflet. 40 days of reflections on the beatitudes
- ‘Lent for everyone: Luke’ by Tom Wright – taking you through Luke’s Gospel including the Sunday Lent and Easter readings we will often use at our services
Christian Aid, The Bible Society and other organisations also offer great daily Lent reflections online, including material for families to use together.
Pancakes: March 3rd 3.30pm at Messy Church, and March 5th Shrove Tuesday 7pm at Ankcorn House. There will be an opportunity to donate to charities working with the homeless.
Ash Wednesday Churches Together Communion: 7.30pm Wednesday 6th March at the Methodist Church
Personal growth disciplines
You might consider
- creating extra regular time for personal prayer
- fasting in some way
- giving money to a cause you support
One of my disciplines this Lent will be to visit members of our congregations to get to know people at a deeper level.
Many of our services will include the Church of England’s recommended Gospel readings:
10th March Luke 4:1-13 hard choices
17th March Luke 13:31 – end making choices
24th March Luke 13:1-9 life-giving choices
10am Joint Service at Mappleborough Church – Going Deeper with God
If you can, please prioritise this joint service – it gives a rare opportunity to share in worship, and in discernment of God’s vision for us, with all our congregations.
31st March Luke 2:33-35 choosing love (Mothering Sunday)
7th April John 12:1-8 choosing self-sacrifice
Holy Week and Easter
Joining in as much of the worship this week as you can helps to deepen faith and love as you stay close to Jesus during the tumultuous events of his suffering, death and resurrection.
There will be more information about these events in due course.
14th April Palm Sunday follows our usual Second Sunday service pattern.
The 4.00pm Service at Morton Bagot will focus on listening to the whole account of Jesus’ Passion from Palm Sunday to Good Friday.
17th April Wednesday afternoon Easter activities for families in the Parish Centre
18th April Maundy Thursday supper in the Parish Centre
19th April Good Friday
Walk of Witness in Studley
12.00pm Service at the Crosses on the Hill in Mappleborough
2.00pm an Hour at the Cross in Studley Church
7.00pm a Contemplative Service in Mappleborough Church
21st April Easter Day
Holy Communion: 10am Studley, 10am Mappleborough, 11.15am Oldberrow, 6.30pm Four Acres