Rector's Monthly Letter March 2017
Once again Lent is upon us. It is a time of year when our thoughts turn towards the Cross. The lectionary Gospel reading for Ash Wednesday speaks to us of giving to the needy, of prayer and fasting. The common thread through this reading from Matthew is that we are not to make a display of all these things, but do them quietly and with humility. For each action the Gospel says: “your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you”. Our motivation for giving, for prayer and for fasting should not be that others see how generous, pious and faithful we are but that what we do is a reflection of Christ working in his world through us. The treasures we then store up are treasures in heaven which are worth far more than any affirmation we may find on earth.
Traditionally at this time of year many people ‘give up’ something for Lent. Even those without a Christian faith use Lent as an excuse to kick start a healthier life style by giving up something like alcohol or chocolate. The point of this type of ‘giving up’ is not to glorify God but to enhance our own earthly lives. As Christians, when we enter into the traditional Lent activities we should be clear about our motivation for taking up a particular Lent challenge. It should be sacrificial, and in making that sacrifice our aim should be to grow closer to God to become more like his Son. It is a time to focus on the repentance of sin and the dedication of our lives to God.
The Lent Course which the House groups will be using this year is called Acts of Love, and touches on how we relate to the world we live in and the challenges that face us in living lives which honour God through loving our neighbour whoever that may be. It will cause us to reflect on our attitudes and our approach to the people around us. It will challenge us to ask of ourselves, ‘am I really salt and light in my community, and do I really believe that all people are made in the image of God?’ Can others see Christ reflected in how I behave towards those who are different to me? Tough questions will be asked, but if we can’t do that in Lent when we reflect on the trials Jesus endured in the wilderness, when can we?
With love in Christ