On Ash Wednesday some of us have ash placed on our foreheads with the words: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return. Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ.”. Yet Lent is not a bleak, forbidding time, but a very positive and optimistic remembering of who and what we truly are. Dust, yes, but dust that dreams of glory. Dust that has been claimed by God. Dust that has a deep and aching sense both of its mortality and of its reaching after the God glimpsed in Jesus whom one day we shall see face to face. Lent is a time for remembering where our true home lies, and for setting our face once again in that direction.
from Dust that Dreams of Glory by Michael Mayne
Remembering who and what we truly are….
Lent is a time for personal prayer, study and reflection as we prepare once again for the darkness of Passiontide, the extreme highs and lows of Holy Week and the glory of Easter. It’s also a time when we think and pray together about who God is calling us to be as a parish, especially this year as we discern our mission and vision. The Church of England’s Lent programme “Live Lent: Let Your Light Shine”, based on readings from John’s gospel, will help us with this. The Archbishops in their introduction remind us that “the light God gives us in Jesus Christ is not to be hidden but to shine – it’s a gift to be lived and shared…”
You can find more details about the programme, with a booklet of daily readings, text or email reminders at www.churchofengland.org/lent and it will form the basis of the series of Lent reflections with Compline that we are sharing with St Stephen’s on Wednesday evenings.
This leaflet includes details of our Lent activities, recommendations for Lent books, and details of a course of lectures at the cathedral on faith through art. For anyone who wants to fast, the guidance Sandy Clarke prepared in 2014 is available from the office.
What shall I do for Lent?
Ash Wednesday: 14 February
Holy Communion with the imposition of ashes:
10.00am at St Bartholomew’s
8.00pm at St Christopher’s: United Benefice service
Lent lunches: 12.30 on Wednesdays in the Link, from Wednesday 21 February: Bread, soup and good company in return for a donation to a good cause.
Compline and reflection for Lent:
7.30pm on Wednesdays 21 February – 21 March at St Christopher’s
A traditional service of Compline including a meditation, shared with our friends from St Stephen’s, Shottermill, based on Live Lent: Let your Light Shine and using readings form John’s gospel.
Why not make a resolution to come to Morning Prayer during Lent? This half hour said service, including Bible readings and prayer for the world, our parish and ourselves, is a great way to start the day. St Bartholomew’s: 8:30 am on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday: 9:00 am on Thursday: St Christopher’s at 8.30 am on Saturday.
Monday 6 March in the Link: 8.00-9.00 pm
Our monthly prayer meeting, bringing to God the needs of the parish, the community and the world. You could make a point of coming to the Lent meeting!
Read something new
Lent is a time for Christians to sharpen up their hearing and their seeing, those spiritual faculties that we need if we are to perceive the risen Lord, who, we say we believe, penetrates and animates all things. Perhaps one of the books listed here might help you to find a new perspective or deepen the one you have……
What shall I read in Lent?
Some book recommendations
The Art of Lent: Sister Wendy Beckett
No new poetry book this year, but Sister Wendy provides a painting for each day of Lent, accompanied by a brief and perceptive reflection which will help you to read these paintings with a more discerning eye, and encounter deeper levels of spiritual meaning than may at first appear. This is a compact and well-produced book, with clear reproductions of each painting. SPCK: RRP £9.99
Reflections for Lent 2018: Gillian Cooper, Jane Williams, Martin Percy, Jeremy Worthen and Samuel Wells. Notes on the lectionary readings shared by most Christian churches at Morning Prayer so you are reading and praying along with the Church across the world. With a simple form of morning and night prayer and an introduction to Lent. Church House Publishing: RRP £4.99
Lent for Everyone: Mark: Tom Wright Daily readings in Mark – the gospel for the current liturgical year – with commentary by Tom Wright, probably the best biblical scholar writing for “ordinary” people today. Full of insights into the culture and thought of the time as well as sound theology and application, with a flavour of the evangelical tradition. SPCK: RRP £6.99
40 Stories of Hope: Catherine Butcher 40 stories of prisoners, ex-offenders, and prison chaplains arranged in a sequence for Lent, each related to Mark’s Gospel and followed by prayers and reflections. Each chapter is a story of light in or after darkness, of people for whom coming to faith is not a cosmetic exercise, but a real moment of turning, of metanoia. CWR RRP £7.99
A Place for God (Mowbray Lent Book): Bishop Graham James considers 40 places which have inspired him, from chapels to a Tube station. An initial Bible reference is followed by the author’s description of and thoughts about the particular place and each section concludes with a prayer, helping us to value place, and to be open to what is around us as a possible source of epiphany. Bloomsbury RRP £9.99
And the Rector’s pick: Dust that Dreams of Glory: Michael Mayne. Sermons for Lent and Holy Week by the late Dean of Westminster and Head of BBC Religious Broadcasting. He has an enviable ability to convey theological insight and pastoral wisdom with humanity, clarity, unshowy learning, blending together the biblical and the personal, demand and promise, depth and simplicity. Truly wonderful. Canterbury Press RRP £10.99
Lent lectures at Guildford Cathedral:
Faith through Art in Lent – Thursday evenings There will be a series of short talks reflecting on Biblical stories and Lenten
themes through the lens of paintings/drawings. The talks start at 8.00pm and will be followed by a service of sung Compline at 8.30pm. All are welcome for a time of inspiration, conversation and contemplation in word, image and prayer.
Admission is free, parking is easy, and there is no need to book.
What if I need to talk to someone in Lent?
In Lent and out of it, if you have questions about life and faith that you would like to discuss, Mary is always ready to meet you and try to help. Just give her a ring or contact the office. Or feel free to approach someone from church whom you know and trust. Being open about our faith, in difficult times and when things are going well, is important in helping us to grow as Christians – please don’t be shy about sharing your doubts and questions as well as the things you are thankful for.
For details of Sunday services, Lent activities or any other information please see the notice boards or website or contact us directly.
Tel 01428 644578 email: email@example.com
Rector: Rev Mary Bowden
Tel 01428 658107 email: firstname.lastname@example.org