The Vicar writes………
I write these words during the conclusion of a retreat in the Monastic Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield. It is a place of peace, prayer and worship. Mirfield is where I prepared for Ordination, and is a place where I continue to return to, for spiritual refreshment. As Lent approaches, finding space for God in a retreat is a spring-cleaning of the heart bringing a renewal of energy within, as we prepare to travel with Jesus towards Easter. The season of Lent then is God’s invitation for all of us to make a fresh start.
Lent is traditionally associated with penitence, but in recent times many Christians also place a focus on what positive contribution we can give to make a difference. The thought being that what has been given up in sacrifice can be re-directed for the good of others, and in doing so we help others to make a fresh start in building their lives, or simply to survive.
At a personal level though, Lent is a time of the year to take stock and a chance for each one of us to re-assess what God is doing with our lives and how we might grow in faith and love. Perhaps you may feel inspired to read a particular book, either alone or alongside a friend to share thoughts with. There is also a call to deepen our prayer life by setting aside time, either personally or in a corporate setting. The office of Morning Prayer is said in our church on most weekdays (see the Weekly Sheet for details). God communicates through many ways. It is through praying and hearing the scriptures that the Holy Spirit can speak to us, through the written word.
In the context of prayer and worship we may approach well known bible passages and hear things differently than on previous occasions. Texts that have spoken in the past in specific circumstances may seem less pertinent only to be overtaken by new insights from other parts of a passage. On a journey of faith whilst one must always look ahead it is important not to forget the past and to remember the blessings we have received. A verse that really spoke to me this week was from the apocryphal text of Ecclesiasticus. ‘Consider the generations of old and see: has anyone trusted in the Lord and been disappointed’? (Ecclesiasticus 2.10) That is a good question for all of us to ponder over this Lent.
Yours in His Service