This month we begin the season of Lent – another reflective time of the year, similar to Advent in the sense that both are times to take stock of our lives. It is a time to look back so we can see where we are, but also a time to look forward. In Advent we looked forward to the birth of Jesus with all the promise that it brings of the long awaited Jewish Messiah, born as a vulnerable baby in an occupied land. In Lent we prepare ourselves in preparation for Easter. During the forty days of this season we are reminded of Jesus’ time in the wilderness following his baptism at the start of his public ministry. It is a time of study and self-examination; a time of penitence and preparation for Easter and of course a time for self-denial. I am sure the latter is very worthy and helpful for healthy eating and so on, but I am more an advocate of including something I would not normally do rather than denial. That’s not to say you now have permission to eat more chocolate than usual! But as usual I like to veer more on the positive rather than the negative in life! It may be doing something extra for someone else, or spending a bit of time studying or reading about Christian ideas and thought. We are studying John’s gospel at the moment in our bible study groups which take place in people’s homes. Do speak to me if you would like to join us.
So although reflective in nature, it is not all sackcloth and ashes because both seasons of Advent and Lent are times of preparation and reflection for new birth and new life. Christmas gives us Jesus’ birth and Easter brings us the joy of Jesus’ rising from the grave to a whole new life – the resurrected life. Death is defeated once and for all. This is the Christian hope. Before we reach Easter Day of course Good Friday has to happen, when things looked very dark indeed but mysteriously in order for resurrection, new life to take place, death had to occur. We see this very much around us at the moment don’t we as Spring tentatively will lift her head again this month. It never ceases to amaze me how plants completely die down, the ground is stripped bare, yet even now green shoots are appearing. It all begins again.
It is good to remind ourselves of these Christian truths and indeed the law of nature and creation, both Godly things I believe, in our own lives as people are affected by adverse events as individuals, families and in our community. You may be aware that change has been proposed for Scott Broadwood School in that the governors are shortly to begin the process of formal consultation to consolidate the bases of Ockley and Capel on to one site. As one of these governors I can tell you that ours is not an enviable task because it is with much regret we have to consider closing one of our bases. Unfortunately difficult decisions have to be considered in order to ensure the school as a whole is financially viable for the future. Please do hold those who will be most affected by the proposed changes and our head teacher and her staff in your prayers at this very difficult time. As rural villages and communities we need one another.
On a happier note may I encourage you to join us at the end of this month for our Mothering Sunday Service, a service for everyone, to come and give thanks for our own mothers or those who have cared for us, with a special time to remember our mothers who are no longer with us. There will be as usual a small posy of flowers for all ladies present. Our very popular Capel Teas return on Mothering Sunday for the first time this year after a well-earned rest for a few weeks! If you haven’t been to them before you are missing a treat.
As we reflect now through Lent, yes we look back. We look back to where we have been and look forward to where we are going. In all our various lives and situations I pray that this will be a blessed time where you will discover new hope and green shoots springing up perhaps in unexpected places!
With my love and prayers as ever