A New Year and thoughts run to new beginnings. How many of us, I wonder, make New Year resolutions? Determined to do better something we have failed to achieve in the past. Resolutions to give up smoking, eating cream cakes and many other habits are earnestly tackled as a New Year begins. As well as having our own individual resolutions, how about a Parish resolution? Let us resolve to renew our support for Churches Together in our area.
For us the liturgical year started back in Advent when we were still thinking again about John the Baptist who came into the world with a very clear yet very difficult vocation. God had chosen him to be the voice, crying in the wilderness - preparing the way for Jesus. It was not easy, but he did it, trusting in the strength of God who had put this task before him. Surely, we must be like John the Baptist with his Atkins diet of locusts and wild honey. John the Baptist was the man of energy who emerged from the desert eating high protein food and who like a whirlwind called people to repentance.
At the end of this Next month we celebrated Candlemass, traditionally the conclusion of Christmas, a turning point in the great liturgical rhythm of the year’s proclamation of the Gospel story. Candlemass is when we turn from the Holy Infant and begin to look to Calvary - when we turn from the manger to the Cross.
Lent starts early this year with Ash Wednesday on the 14th of February. This is a season of the Church’s year in which we are given an opportunity to think and pray about the important truths of life and of our faith, as we try to focus our minds on the redemptive suffering of Jesus Christ. Traditionally it is a time when we look at our spiritual life and try to improve it. Giving things up is still very popular. This year it will come as no surprise if I ask you not to give anything up but rather to take something extra on. The something extra is to attend the Churches Together Lent Groups. Thus, working together in ecumenical partnership to deepen our knowledge of the Christian faith and use this coming season of Lent to inform our prayers and Bible Study.
Your Friend and Parish Priest
Father David Isiorho