Newsletter (February 2018)
Newsletter for February 2018 from Settle Vicarage
January has flown by, as it does, and we are on the brink of the second great preparation time after having started the Church year with Advent leading to Christmas. These 6 weeks of Lent leading up to Easter can be a bit of a slog, but we can do things to use that as an opportunity rather than a bind. In my own personal history, that's the season of any serious illness and my father's death occurred in March, but it has also been a growth time, when I have chosen to work at it. This time has the potential to be a most fruitful one. Life is, to some degree what we make of it – or what we allow God to make of it, to put it another way, this is a time to 'choose life'.
Some Christians do not set much store by seasonal celebrations, apart from main festivals. I can see their point, in that the festival celebrations can become the focus of worship rather than a means of worshipping. We human beings do have a powerful instinct for making idols. Also, the penitential thing can be overdone, and become a means of controlling others and/or limiting ourselves. But this does not mean that using the seasons to sequence our thinking is a bad thing, nor is true repentance anything other than life-giving. In fact it is the means to our healing and renewing if done rightly. The very act of calling ourselves 'miserable sinners' can be sinful, if it leaves us in the place of condemnation. Sin is what separates us from God, who has, in Jesus, dealt with that by taking the initiative, building a bridge between his perfection and our imperfection, calling us into community. We are enabled, if we will, to live well with ourselves, with others and with God in that eternal triangle of dynamic love which is the Trinity. So, let us use this Lent as an opportunity to allow God to work in us for healing and reconciliation. To that end, I do recommend the national CofE L
There is also our Diocesan initiative, with leaflets and Bishops prayer days, and the prayer you will find elsewhere here, written by the Bishops for Lent, which they ask people to join in each day. So, let us pray and encourage each other so that Lent is a time of growth, new life, new awareness and real hope.
Love from Hilary