Thoughts from the Vicarage 81
Dear Friends of The Valley
Good morning on this beautiful, blue sky day here in the Valley. Welcome to a special midweek Thoughts from The Vicarage that comes to help us prepare for Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day yum yum say Belinda church mouse and Mr Vicarage in unison! And no Belinda – we can’t hold a pancake party with games and quizzes … not this year unless you’d like to Zoom into Compline on Shrove Tuesday and share your pancake eating then!
More importantly this comes to share some Thoughts as we look ahead to Ash Wednesday and Lent when the churches are dressed in purple.
Ash Wednesday Service 6 pm 17th February via Zoom. You will need one of the ash sets that are on the altar in each church. Please do collect one on your daily exercise walk or ask me if you’d like one delivered. We will be using the order of service attached with this email. Any question please do ask no query too small.
Lent is an ancient gift to the Church and to each one of us. It’s an invitation to put God once more at the heart of our lives. It’s the call to push aside the stuff and accretion of daily life and remember what is truly of worth. Traditionally it was the season in which new Christians prepared themselves to be baptised at Easter and, over the centuries, it has become 40 days (starting at Ash Wednesday) in which we go into the desert with Jesus and simplify our lives and come back to God so that we can enter into the drama and disaster of Holy Week with determination and focus and truly appreciate the resurrection light of Easter Day.
We have already given up so much and missed out on so much over these last months. I urge you to take up something extra and life-giving for Lent. Take something up, make a new commitment, do something you will enjoy or which will help others.
Suggestions for yourself:
- Give thanks for three things at the end of each day – write or illustrate them.
- Be still in natural surroundings and reflect upon creation.
- Try journaling during Lent. Maybe buy a lovely new book and enjoy writing as you read. If you’d like advice on a Lent book please do ask!
- Commit to reading all of Mark’s Gospel or write it out, a day at a time and go deeper into the story.
- Journal by taking a themed photo a day, say of hope, light, new birth or re-creation.
- Made in the image of God – reflect on self-care this Lent – ideas attached to this mailing. Also one for our younger readers & one to colour in., please ask me.
- Begin contemplative prayer colouring using the attached Ash sheet. There’ll be a new one each week.
- Gather a playlist your music choices for Lent – think about why you make the choices you do.
- Turn your attention to a news item beyond Europe, find the location on a map and pray for the people of that place.
Suggestions for joining in with others – as far as we are allowed:
- Join the Ash Wednesday zoom service at 6pm on February 17th with an Ash set and service attached to this email.
- Commit to saying Morning Prayer or Compline (either at home or at 8.30 via Zoom) on a certain day or number of days each week of Lent.
- Join in with ‘Come and See’ on Wednesdays at 7pm for an hour. It’s a Lent course aiming to make deeper contact with people who would like to know more and will be great for those who’d like the chance to revisit the core of our faith. How to ask deep questions of faith (anglican.org) Please contact me if you would like to find out more. It will take place on Wednesdays from February 24th at 7pm for an hour via the usual zoom link. https://www.oxford.anglican.org/come-and-see/
- Volunteer to support a cause dear to your heart, offer to support others.
A friend suggested this; when you listen to the news on the radio do nothing else (be still, keep quiet) whilst ‘the pips’ are broadcast. Then listen for God’s cry of love for a broken world in the news reports. If you feel so moved please do share any further ideas you have.
Teach me, dear Lord,
frequently and attentively to consider this truth:
that if I gain the whole world and lose You,
in the end I have lost everything;
whereas if I lose the world and gain You,
in the end I have lost nothing. (Cardinal Newman, 1801-1890)
May God protect guide and sustain you through the season of Lent