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Ash Wednesday

This was a pastoral letter that got sent out with the Ash Wed bookmarks. Scroll down to read Lucy’s bit about it.

15th February 2021

Dearly Beloved

I hope this arrives in time for Shrove Tuesday, Pancake Day. And that you took a moment to enjoy a pancake. I’m a lemon/sugar but I’ve been known to try chocolate spread/banana.

To shrive is to present yourself to the priest for confession, penance, absolution, that sounds like a sorry sad sort of thing. And yet (irregular aorist) Shrove Tuesday is associated with celebrating, feasting. I think that celebration should always follow confession. The joy that comes from being freshly reconciled to our Maker, to ourselves, to our vocation and purpose that is all a worthy cause to celebrate.

We celebrated on 14th February (for details on St Valentine, see Derreck’s letter). Bishop Will came and (re)licensed Rev Lucy (see my last pastoral letter for more on that). She got given two cakes, three bottles of something nice and some flowers. Thank you.

17th February will be Ash Wednesday. Alas we cannot have an on-site service and so instead note the enclosed bookmark. Lucy made them by mixing palm ash with glue and painting them. Rev Lucy has written some prayers to help you have an Ash Wednesday moment of worship.

There will be a pre-recorded you-tube service, in it Derreck preaches about how this year we have had an 11 month fast from Singing, from Eucharists, from Hugging and so on. What would you add to this fasting list.

So don’t give anything up for Lent! Bishop Will in his sermon on 14th Feb called us to a lent of Prayer and Alms giving. And I would add to that the discipline of Thanksgiving: Thank you so much to those of you who have been giving to the work of the Church.

We’ve added into the envelope your Palm Sunday Cross (28th March). Yes its too early but I wanted you to have a reminder that Lent is a journey. I’m using this Lent to read through Living His Story and Art for Lent and having a book club. If you’d like to know more about any of these, do give me a ring.

I hope that a good many of you have had your first injection. We are watching the infection rates going down and listening to the Government for advice so there’s a possibility that in March we will start to open our Church buildings to public worship. This could start with two 9.30am eucharist services in St Lukes and also in St Leonards and an 11.15am service in St Leonard’s. We’re not sure but I think you might need to ‘book a seat’ for St Leonard’s by phoning the office. We hope to be able to tell you more in the next letter.

(Ps look out for the Mothering Sunday  (14th March) envelope but I won’t tell you why just yet)

Peace and Love, James & Lucy

Be faithful to Christ

As we approach the beginning of Lent we would normally be able to meet together for a service on Ash Wednesday. As part of that service we would receive the sign of the cross with ash on our forehead.

We cannot all gather together this year but we may wish to set aside a short time on Ash Wednesday to say sorry to God. In your envelope is a bookmark with a cross of ash painted onto it so you can feel it. Trace the shape of the cross with your finger and reflect on these words from the Ash Wednesday liturgy:

‘As a sign of the spirit of penitence with which we shall keep this season of preparation for Easter, I invite you to receive on your head in ash the sign of the cross, the symbol of our salvation. God our Father, you create us from the dust of the earth: Grant that these ashes may be for us a sign of our penitence and a symbol of our mortality;  For it is by Your grace alone that we receive eternal life in Jesus Christ our Saviour.’

And close your eyes to hear the words as we receive the sign of the cross:

‘Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.

Turn away from sin and be faithful to Christ. Amen.’

Let us pray for the grace to keep Lent faithfully.

Ash Wednesday Clip ArtAlmighty and everlasting God,

you hate nothing that you have made

and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent:

create and make in us new and contrite hearts

that we, worthily lamenting our sins

and acknowledging our wretchedness,

may receive from you, the God of all mercy,

perfect remission and forgiveness;

through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,

who is alive and reigns with you,

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever. Amen

© CW, “Lent Holy Week Easter services and prayers” CUP.

Love and prayers

Rev Lucy

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