The wilderness beckons

Next week we will hold a service on Ash Wednesday, 6 March, at 6pm. During the service, we remember that we are formed from dust and will return to dust; and we recall the tradition of repentance in dust and ashes. It is an austere ritual which includes being marked by the sign of the cross in ashes; and is the first step on the road to Jerusalem. That is, it is the first day of Lent: the forty days leading up to Easter, and a time when Christians reflect deeply on Jesus’ life and ministry and their own call to discipleship.

To help you on this journey, we will distribute a book of daily readings. This year, our focus is on discipleship dynamics in Luke. Members of the congregation have been invited to reflect on how one aspect of discipleship has played out in their own life. Thanks to all who have contributed so far: it’s looking great! And if you haven’t yet contributed, there’s still time. The theme is described here. Choose one dynamic, write or draw your response, then get your contribution to me by this Friday 1 March. Kids and teenagers are not only welcome but encouraged to contribute.

Coming up on Saturday 16 March at 7pm is our next public storytelling session. The (Lenten) theme is Wilderness. Sometimes, it’s just hard. Maybe you were lonely; maybe your job sucked. Maybe you did the Great South West Walk and got blisters. Whatever it was, we want to hear about it: the stumbling, the suffering, the temptations, the ludicrousness, and the signs of life. In six minutes or so, tell us about your time in the wilderness.

Lent is looming, the wilderness road beckons … but we are not quite there yet. For our final Sunday in Summer Time*, we will hear about Jesus’ transfiguration on the mountaintop. With this in mind, I leave you with a prayer by Janet Morley:

  • O God, whose beauty is beyond our imagining, and whose power we cannot comprehend: show us your glory as far as we can grasp it, and shield us from knowing more than we can bear until we may look upon you without fear, through Jesus Christ, Amen.


*What, I hear you ask, is Summer Time? It’s our very own liturgical season. Think common time with a summer slant, awash with watery imagery: river baptism, beaches, fishing boats, wells, so conveniently clustered in the lectionary cycle and so appropriate for those of us living in a region threaded by rivers and looking to the sea.

Emailed to Sanctuary 27 February 2019 © Alison Sampson, 2019.  Janet Morley’s prayer was originally posted on the Monthly Prayers page (now Weekly Worship) of the Christian Aid website.

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