Tag: Ash Wednesday

“Listen to Him…”

Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely
Think about such things
Philippians 4. 8-9

Lent, so I heard comes from an old English Word which simply means Spring. The plants are waiting to be planted out in the garden, they were a gift, and they are lovely. Spring is lovely, everything that our Good Lord made is lovely, and in my simple understanding, give the Creator as much delight as the day He made them.

Ash Wednesday means the flowers will be absent from churches such as mine, missing until Easter Day, when the Lilies will trumpet the Resurrection. Today’s Gospel Reading, Matthew 17. 1-9 tells of the revealing of the Lord Jesus as the Son of God and Messiah on a mountain top, it tells of the awestruck Peter, James and John, catching a glimpse of whom Jesus the Messiah really is, in the company of Moses and Elijah… there are so many learned thoughts expressed about this message, so many noteworthy and praiseworthy Bible Teachers have written many, many pages, many books, I am sure that many wonderful words have been published today on WordPress… I cannot add to them, and I would not wish to take away from them, I just feel in myself that this portion of Scripture together with the words of Peter (2 Peter 1. 16-end) very appropriate for all Christians who will keep the season of Lent… straight from the Father’s Glory as Peter puts it, they heard;

This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!

Peter, eyewitness to this revelation of Christ’s glory, reminds us that we also have the witnesses of the Prophets, which must pay attention to as a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the Morning Star rises in our hearts. I cannot think of a more perfect way to put it… to keep a “good Lent” is to listen to the words of Christ and of the Prophets, if there is anything amiss with our hearts thinking, God waits to redirect us back into the right path, the Way, which is Jesus.

Finally, brothers or sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. (These are the words of Paul) whatever you have learned, or received or heard from me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Whoever is reading this, I pray God’s shalom resound in your hearts and in my heart as we turn over the pages of the Holy Scriptures together as we listen….

Tomorrow it’s Lent, tonight it’s laughter

At the end of a busy day, we had our Traditional Shrove Tuesday supper, complete with pancakes in the church hall, there was plenty of fun and laughter, and folk were reluctant to part company – just as it should be – being together, really together, listening, intently to woes as well seeing the funny side of them. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and my church together with thousands more will hold a service of Holy Communion and Imposition of Ashes, all who kneel at the altar rail will be marked with the sign of the cross, a big black cross of ash from the burning of last years cross, a sign that we are sorry for the sins that our Saviour carried on Calvary’s Cross.

Somehow we just know that Christ was in the midst of tonight’s supper, he was in the smiles exchanged, present to the man in the wheel chair, present in the waiting on of tables and the preparing of food by older church members who were just pleased to help, to be of service… Sacred as times in church are, there are other ways of waiting on Jesus – other ways of declaring our faith… Perhaps the grace which we said together sums that up, it is certainly food for thought, not just for the season of Lent but every day.

I was hungry: And you gave me food.
I was thirsty; And you gave me drink.
I was a stranger: And you welcomed me.
I was naked: And you clothed me.
I was ill: And you comforted me.
I was in jail: And you came to see me.
Lord Jesus Christ make our Lenten offerings turn us toward all our brothers and sisters who are in need. Bless this table, our good food, and ourselves. Send us through Lent with good cheer, and bring us to the fullness of your Passover.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Send us through Lent with good cheer… Whatever good we do, whatever we give, every little act of kindness done with a cheerful heart, brings us closer to the true Passover and the Breaking of Bread in our Father’s house.

May your Lent be blessed!

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Beauty from Ashes: God sets Cinderella Free

Ash Wednesday: along with many thousands of churches mine will be holding a Service of Holy Communion and Imposition of Ashes.
Imposition is a big word for us simpler folk for a simple act of being signed with a smudgy, black ash cross, made from last years burnt palm cross. As I get older, I see more and more, that simple is beautiful and that beauty has little to do with expensive, luxury, designer label or lavish advertising campaigns.
A Lily, a Rose a Raindrop on a window pane are all simply beautiful, stunning even: Nothing can be added or subtracted from that beauty it just is…
Many prayers will be made today, many Lenten resolves made, and, perhaps forgotten or broken tomorrow because forgetfulness is part and parcel of being human; this is what ashes from last year remind us, we forget who we are, and what The Lord has created us to become. So, today I am looking back and reminding myself of the simple, awesome Beauty of Grace, the Grace of our Lord dying on a cross, I am turning over in my pocket the one talent which is given to us all and in equal measure, Grace. Grace which is mine to invest, spend, lend, give – freely, freely as I have been given.
Perhaps I may choose to invest that Talent in acquiring for myself from the Beautifier of our souls and inner selves:-

“The unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit..” (1 Peter 3:4)

I have one talent, I need to use or lose, as do you.

How would you choose to Invest from the Talent of Grace?

In the end, Jesus tells us we can achieve nothing ourselves
It is God who brings Beauty from the Ashes and sets Cinderella free to be His Princess.
(or Prince, if you happen to be male).