Pastoral Letter (March 2019)

from Revd Catherine Bowstead

Dear Friends,

As I write this article I am beginning to think about preparations for Lent and Easter.  Lent is the time in the Church's calendar that traditionally reflects for us the 40 days that the Bible tells us Jesus spent in the wilderness.  It is a time of preparation, for us to look inside ourselves and if you like give ourselves a mental and spiritual spring clean.  Symbolically within the Church it is a time of simplicity and solemnity, some churches remove things such as flowers and other decorations.

You will no doubt all know that in the times of the early Church the season of Lent began after Shrove Tuesday, more commonly known as Pancake Day, when the larder was emptied of fats and sugars and a feast was held before the starkness of a simple diet during Lent.  This in turn then led to people giving up things such as chocolate or biscuits or alcohol for Lent. Some people prefer to take something on for Lent, perhaps reading a book or joining a Lent study group.

Taking its cue from Neil MacGregor's 'History of the World in 100 Objects', "At Home in Lent" by Gordon Giles is our Lent book for this year.  The author takes a look at everyday objects and uses them to share a message of finding God wherever you are.  46 everyday objects, to be precise, from objects such as bathroom-scales and alarm-clocks he finds spiritual lessons that tie into the story of Easter, as well as taking a look at the rhythms of daily life and faith that we all follow along to.  It is a simple way of encouraging us to spend a few minutes each day, just to stop and draw closer to God.

In addition to this there will be an Ash Wednesday service on Wednesday 6th March at 7:30pm at our Methodist Church in Bracknell, which will be an opportunity for us to mark the beginning of our Lent observance.

Lent is also the time that reminds us that Spring is on the way, the days are lengthening, the snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils are beginning to poke their heads above the ground and are starting to fill our slightly drab and dreary winter gardens with the promise of colour.

As the season of Lent begins, I pray that we will all find time to take stock, perhaps to do a little bit of spring-cleaning in our lives and begin to prepare for the glory of the Easter season.

With every blessing

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